Posted by Paul Edwards (Fr. Paul) on Aug 30, 2012 | Comments (0)

Pentecost XV Bottom Line Spirituality:Worldly and Godly Thinking

Click here to go to the Bottom Line Meditations for Pentecost 15

Godly Abiding Spiritually in Jesus Changes the Meaning of What we See Worldly When Not Abiding in Jesus.

Mark 7:24-37. “It is not fair to take the children's food and throw it to the dogs."


This parable is the difference between what you think one dimensionally and how you think two dimensionally.

Jesus is preparing His Disciples for His final days in Jerusalem.  They are in a quiet place in Tyre, a Gentile area away from Judea. A Gentile woman was interrupting their group with her cries for her daughter.

This scripture gives the commentators trouble.  Why would the loving and graceful Jesus be so curt, rude, and judgmental toward an innocent person in distress because of her daughter’s affliction?

Worldly rational thinking will make the woman and Jesus as the center of the lesson. They think Jesus insulted her to see if she really believed.

Godly spiritual understanding will go past what is written to understand what is not written. It is to look past these two to take a look at the Disciples. Who are these guys?

We know of the possible Zealot background of most of them.  They expected Jesus to bring on the Kingdom of David after His resurrection. Acts 1:6 They wanted to separate themselves from the “Gentile dogs.”  The Gospel of Matthew says that “the Disciples came imploring Him to send her away because she keeps shouting at us.” Matthew 15:21-28

These Disciples were not open to Gentiles. “Gentiledogs” was one word. Jesus did not immediately respond to her need because He wanted to see if His Disciples would. They were not interested.  “You heal her and send her away, the Gentiledog!” 

Jesus was offended and disappointed at their reaction. His back was to the woman. He did not hear her quietly and reverently approach Him. He wanted to shape up and shock the Disciples.  He said to them, not to the woman, “Let the children be fed first, for it is not fair to take the children's food and throw it to the dogs.” He expected the disciples to be shocked to hear the Lover of all to say these words. It might wake them up.

She heard what He said and responded, "Sir, even the dogs under the table eat the children's crumbs." Oops! Jesus was shocked she heard it. He turned and said to her, "For saying that, you may go--the demon has left your daughter." She went home, found the child lying on the bed, and the demon gone. There was a lot more work to be done to prepare His Disciples in how Love works.

Worldly rational thinking may not accept this interpretation by looking at the facts. Godly spiritual thinking may understand it by looking beyond the immediate story. What matters most is how we understand the Gospel. Understanding is not about facts. It is a feeling. If the Disciples could have understood the feeling of Jesus and the woman, they might have responded in a more positive way.

Godly spiritual understanding is when the feelings of Jesus, the Disciples, and the woman bring more meaning to our lives. The lesson for us is to take more time to understand the feelings of those both in and outside of our circle of friends and family. It is not only for their sake but for ours as well. It is called spiritual understanding.

How much can you consciously feel, not rationally understand, the feelings of those closest to you? Tell them not what you think but how you hear they feel.


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