Today’s first reading from the book of Kings is a little sad. King Solomon started out so well, as the king of Israel, because of his deep faith and obedience to God. King Solomon initially found favor with God and as a result He greatly blessed King Solomon’s kingdom. However, when King Solomon grew older he let his wives influence him far too much. God retracted his promise to put his son on the throne after his passing, and said He would put his servant on the throne instead. God was justified in doing so.
This scenario is played out often in the old testament. Pretty much the same thing happened to King Saul. He disobeyed God by not killing the livestock in battle, but kept it for himself and his men instead. He also sought out a witch to try and see into the future instead of relying on God. God’s chosen people built a golden calf while Moses was on the mountain being given the ten commandments by God. Imagine his disappointment that the people had abandoned the God of Israel. Maybe that’s why he threw the tablets of stone down the mountain. There are countless examples of people in the old testament abandoning God and pursuing other “gods”.
Perhaps that is what bothered Jesus in today’s gospel. The woman who came to him, asking for Jesus to heal her sick daughter, was a Greek and a Syrophoenician. Evidently, she was not Jewish by birth. It may have seemed that she was not being loyal to her own belief system by coming to him. Jesus tells 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.” The Jewish people were often called the children of God, so this must be who he was referring to. One day the Gentiles and other people would be evangelized, but not at first. This would for the most part, happen after his death.
Mothers will do about anything to help their sick child, especially one if possessed by a “demon”. We do not know for sure if the child was possessed by a demon, back then they didn’t know what to call mental illnesses like schizophrenia. The only term they may have had for it, was possession or an unclean spirit. No mother would want her child to live like that the rest of their lives. So, she begged Jesus, “Lord, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s scraps.” She acknowledged her place in society, and also showed great faith in Jesus, so Jesus healed her daughter. “For saying this, you may go. The demon has gone out of your daughter.”
There are many things we can learn from today’s readings for mass. First of all, we are all in danger of losing our faith. We should never feel secure our belief in God. King Solomon was distracted by his beautiful wives and allowed them to influence his own beliefs in the one true God. It should have been the other way around. Too many Catholics are influenced by their non-catholic spouse when they get married and end up abandoning their childhood faith. Sometimes this happens even during the dating process if the other person doesn’t want to go to mass, or insists on their own way. Young people need to be careful not to allow those closest to them, overpower their Catholic faith and cave in to their resistance out of love for them.