What a shock, therefore, to see in today’s First Reading that Solomon has been convinced by his wives (of course) to abandon his commitment to the One God for the sake of many. For this God deprives him of his kingdom. Yet, for the sake of David, Solomon’s father, God holds the implementation of this decree off until after Solomon’s death. God does not abandon the people entirely, but allows one tribe to remain in God’s kinship. God had remained committed to David, once he had confessed his sordid affairs and asked forgiveness.
Yes, this is a God whose Love comes before the tenets of a contract and stays in place eager to embrace us again when we are ready. Amazing that this is the God of the Old Testament!
Today’s Gospel tells the story of the woman who seeks healing for her daughter, who had been entered by a demon, though she is not a Jew. Christ’s first response: “Let the children be fed first. For it is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs.” She replied with a feisty, “Lord, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s scraps.” And to this, Jesus replied that for having challenged Him, He had called the demon from her daughter. Sure enough, when she arrived home, the girl slept peacefully.
Can it be that Jesus’ first response is not always His best? Another woman seeking His aid received a similar first response. Yet with a little thought, Jesus is able to respond in a manner, not shackled to the culture of His tribe.
We can learn much from watching Jesus in action here. For example when faced by the “illegal” immigrant, the person on death row, or the politician from the Dark Side (whatever that side may be), how are we to respond as apostles of Christ? People who go by the name, Christian, who claim to want to spread the Good News, and who yearn for greater integrity in our lives?
Lent begins later this month, a good time to seek the Spirit’s illumination on our first responses that need to be followed quickly by a second. Is this risky? Perhaps. We may have to give up long-held opinions or comfortable judgments. Can we chance it? David and Solomon and a host of others have shown God’s unconditional Love.
As Jesus Himself said in another part of the Gospel, “Come in; the water’s fine.”
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