Emmitsburg Council of Churches


The Holy Gospel according to St. Mark 7:24-37

From there he set out and went away to the region of Tyre. He entered a house and did not want anyone to know he was there. Yet he could not escape notice, 7:25 but a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit immediately heard about him, and she came and bowed down at his feet. 7:26 Now the woman was a Gentile, of Syrophoenician origin. She begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter. 7:27 He said to her, "Let the children be fed first, for it is not fair to take the children's food and throw it to the dogs." 7:28 But she answered him, "Sir, even the dogs under the table eat the children's crumbs." 7:29 Then he said to her, "For saying that, you may go©©the demon has left your daughter." 7:30 So she went home, found the child lying on the bed, and the demon gone. 7:31 Then he returned from the region of Tyre, and went by way of Sidon towards the Sea of Galilee, in the region of the Decapolis. 7:32 They brought to him a deaf man who had an impediment in his speech; and they begged him to lay his hand on him. 7:33 He took him aside in private, away from the crowd, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spat and touched his tongue. 7:34 Then looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him, "Ephphatha," that is, "Be opened." 7:35 And immediately his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly. 7:36 Then Jesus ordered them to tell no one; but the more he ordered them, the more zealously they proclaimed it. 7:37 They were astounded beyond measure, saying, "He has done everything well; he even makes the deaf to hear and the mute to speak."

The Gospel of the Lord . . . Praise to You O Christ.

Cry Out to Jesus

The popular Christian contemporary music group Third Day sings these lyrics,

"There is hope for the helpless
Rest for the weary
Love for the broken heart
There is grace and forgiveness
Mercy and healing
He'll meet you wherever you are
Cry out to Jesus, Cry out to Jesus"

The sentiments of these lyrics are just what we hear about in the Gospel Lesson!! There is healing available for the Daughter of the troubled mother. There is a New Life of hearing and speaking available for the deaf and dumb man. There is even a sense of Empowerment and Participation that rises up in the Crowd of People that are following after Jesus.

Jesus is Available to everyone. You don't have to be on the inside of his closest companions to receive Newness of Life. You don't have to pay money or prove yourself as worthy . . . all that is required is a sincere plea, a willingness of spirit to give your life over to his care . . . . Cry out to Jesus.

Jesus is the Only One who Can provide healing

for lives that are broken.

In the story we hear about the Syrophoenician Woman whose daughter is very sick, and she is in great distress to see Jesus. What we know from Mark's Gospel is that Jesus was trying not to see anyone that day. He had intentionally gone into Gentile territory so that his crowd of followers would not pursue him. He needed rest and quiet. But the stories about Jesus preceded him. Everyone was in need of some aspect of what the Master had to give . . . and so, as soon as anyone knew Jesus was in the vicinity, they would physically seek him out. In a very real way, people were Crying Out to Jesus by their intentional pursuit of him wherever he was to be found.

Somehow, the people knew that Jesus was the one who had the answers to their deepest problems. This is also true today as we know – people's first reaction to an unexpected event is: "Oh My God!" Perhaps it is an innate response within our soul, even those among us who claim to not believe in God will innately cry out, "Oh my God," when confronted by a fearful circumstance or emergency.

As Christians, we must constantly remind ourselves that Jesus desires for us to call on him in good times and difficult moments. Although, as we learn from the woman in our Gospel story, we must not be shy in taking the lead to seek him out and to remain steadfast in praying for whatever it is that we need.

From the witness of the scriptures we know that people from every walk of life had a mind to leave everything in order to seek out the Lord. For they had gained a sense of the Divine that was present in Christ.

And so we find this Syrophoenician woman, she was a Greek, a Gentile, (and not supposed to be associating with Jews, let alone, Jesus – alone at this house). But she comes in and casts herself at Jesus' feet and proceeds, through conversation with Jesus, to beg him to heal her daughter. She was CRYING OUT TO JESUS . . . because she believed completely that he was the only one who could provide her daughter with healing.

What is striking about the tale is that Jesus (at first) does not help her. In fact, Jesus seems callous to this woman's plea for help as he metaphorically explains that he cannot help her, a Gentile, as he is the Messiah for the Jews. There is some indication that Jesus is saying that it is not yet the time of the Gentile's salvation . . . .

But the woman does not resign from her begging. In fact, she is very clever and determined to obtain from Jesus what she has set out to gain – the deliverance of her daughter from a demon (or an illness, such as epilepsy). And so we can observe that the woman's Cry to Jesus is not a pathetic Cry, but an outpouring of determination and belief that Jesus is the only one who can save her daughter!

The woman's begging is not from a point of weakness, but from a point of Strength!! She is exercising faith. She is pouring herself out, not just spiritually, but intellectually as she converses with Jesus in order to persuade him to give her what she seeks -- Her Daughter's Health.

By observing the woman's strength of character and her thoughtfulness in speech, we can gain a new sense of faith and understanding about prayer . . . We need to Cry out to Jesus for the things we need in this life, things within God's will for his children.

When we cry out to Jesus, God honors our determination in lives lived with faith. God hears us when we are insistent to gain his attention. Even when it seems the Spirit is saying no to whatever request is on our mind . . . if we are thinking clearly as this woman was . . . and our request is honorable, one could say that God is more apt to listen to our prayers. So, be bold in your seeking Christ. Cry Out To Jesus!!

Peace to you and yours,

Pr. Jon

Read more writings of Pastor Jon