Mark’s gospel recounts several stories about Jesus healing both Gentiles and Jews. The Syrophoenician woman, a Gentile, is a persistent mother who grovels at Jesus’ feet as she tries to persuade him to free her daughter from demonic possession. Using only words, Jesus rewards the woman’s boldness and faith by healing her daughter from a distance.
It is increasingly rare to hear people talk about devils and demonic possession. Nevertheless, many of us have shared the Syrophoenician woman’s desperation when witnessing the pain of loved ones or clients trapped in cycles of violence or addiction. Where do we turn to for help? Wouldn’t some divine intervention be in order?
Before retiring, I taught special education students at a children’s mental health centre staffed by a multidisciplinary team of professionals. On more than one occasion, a student’s temper would flare and a situation would hover on the edge of violence. In those critical moments, I found myself spontaneously offering silent but fervent pleas for God’s help. Shortly thereafter, the atmosphere became calmer. To me, it felt as if the “thou” of Psalm 23 was with us in the room.
Lord, when we're at wit's end, help us to remember to call on your name. Amen. — CKA