Catholic Men’s Daily Devotional and Bible Study – 5th Week in Ordinary Time – Thursday – Mark 7:24-30
After clashing with the Pharisees, Christ withdrew to the Gentile territory of Canaan. Tracing back to the time of Noah, the man Canaan was from an incestuous union of Noah’s son, Ham, and Noah’s wife; from that time Canaan, his descendants and the land named after him were cursed (Gen 9:18-25). The pagan Canaanite women’s approach to Christ is a bold act of a desperate mother; Canaanites and Jews had centuries-old animosity; women didn’t approach a men directly in that culture; a pagan didn’t approach a rabbi. The Canaanite woman’s desperate act to throw herself at Christ’s feet for her demon-possessed daughter are an act of astounding faith.
Somewhat brusk, Christ tells the pagan woman His priority is to feed the children (Israel) and then likens the woman and her people to “dogs”, scavengers unworthy of holy blessings. The persistent woman humbly accepts the insult and, addressing Christ as “Lord”, obediently begs for “scraps” like a little dog at her master’s feet. Her surrender and faith is complete.
In a stunning reversal, Christ instantaneously heals the woman’s daughter. Rather than being coldly harsh, Christ acts deliberately, with Divine Wisdom, to test and draw out the woman’s faith, to make clear His Divinity and to offer the disciples a lesson in responding with Divine Mercy to persistent souls in need.
Awed by Jesus Christ – The Lord, Christ is recognized as the of great power, even among pagans. Divine King, Christ has a clear mission with an initial focus on calling Israel, rebukes with authority and challenges would-be miracle seekers to test their faith. Divine Mercy, Christ responds to those who approach Him in faith. Son of God and Divine Physician, Christ casts out demons with a word and offers instantaneous healing to the demon-possessed.
Being a Heroic Catholic Man
1) Rather than reversing His first response to heal the pagan woman’s daughter, Christ deliberately tests and rewards the woman. Marvel at Christ’s Divine Wisdom and realize that He never makes a mistake; Christ perfectly works within each soul’s life to draw them to Himself.
2) As Christ extends charity to the pagan woman, Catholics are to grow in charity for all people, including those not in communion with the Catholic Church. Review the Church’s teaching about non-Catholics (CCC 836-848) and pray for Christ to use you to draw many to His Catholic Church.
3) Each Catholic man, at some stage of his life, encounters unexplainable suffering; faith and hope is often hard when it seems like Christ does not respond. Realize that Christ’s excruciating suffering seemed unexplainable at the Passion, but that all things work to fulfill God’s Perfect Plan (CCC 599-600); pray for Christ to help you grow in faith and hope and charity in the midst of misunderstood suffering.
Spiritual Practices – Include in Today’s Prayers
Sacred Mystery of Rosary – The Luminous Mysteries
Daily Devotion – The Holy Eucharist
Virtue of the Day – Fortitude
Corporal Work of Mercy – To shelter the homeless
Spiritual Work of Mercy – To bear wrongs patiently