11.02.10 FOOD FOR DOGS

Posted under Reflections on February 10th, 2010 by
He said to her, "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 and said to him, "Lord, even the dogs under the table eat the children's scraps."  Then he said to her, "For saying this, you may go. The demon has gone out of your daughter." Mk 7, 27-29
The woman was desperate. She had an urgent need of help. Her daughter was demon possessed. Demons do not have any territorial restrictions. They possess people of any religion, any region, any sex, any age etc. 
If so, why Jesus makes this distinction. The author of the Gospel of Mark wants to communicate something through this miracle. Because , later on, Jesus tells his disciples to go the ends of the earth to proclaim the kingdom and to cast out demons etc.(Mk 16, 14-17)


This miracle story has an odd exchange of words between Jesus and the woman. May be through this exchange of words the author wants to communicate something. Jews often thought of Gentiles as dogs. It was intended to be an apparent insult. Because dog returns to its own vomit (2 Pet 2,22)  The context of this verse says that, the people who are compared to dogs are those, who after knowing Jesus return to worshiping their earlier Gods. Does Mark, the author, wants to say that anyone who comes in contact with Jesus should remain faithful to him? If not they are like dog that return to its vomit. Or is it a warning to this lady that she should not return back to her old belief after receiving the miracle? Could be.
Her reply proves that she was faithful to Jesus and Jesus also accepts her response by performing the miracle. 
So belief in Jesus and following Jesus are stressed.


Posted under Reflections on February 9th, 2010 by

"Hear me, all of you, and understand. Nothing that enters one from outside can defile that person; but the things that come out from within are what defile." 

Scriptures (Old Testament) spoke about purity laws. The were also talking about food laws. These laws were like signposts. They were pointing out to something. But once you reach the destination the you do not need the signposts anymore. 
Jesus argument is that these purity laws and other food laws do not actually touch the real human problem. It is the kingdom of God that touches the real human problem. So Jesus brings to completion the covenant that God made.
Jesus, here, is making a distinction between laws and principles of life. Laws are time bound and they are for a particular situation. But the principles are true in every situation at every place at anytime and for everyone. The principles are: respect for person, love of the other, respect for life, freedom, goodness etc. These are in a sense eternal and they  are true. 
But the laws are true in one country and they are not practiced in another. 
So Jesus is telling his listeners to understand this basic difference. Man is more important than the laws. Respect for life is more important than the sabbath laws etc.
Listen to the kingdom of God. Understand the kingdom of God.
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