Scripture: 1st Reading: 1Kgs11,4-13; Resp. Psalm: Ps106,3-4,35-37,40; Gosp. Accl.: James1,21; Gospel: Mk7,24-30
There are three times in human life: the early times, that is, the morning of life; the daylight hours or the afternoon time of life; the evening time of life. The morning time of life is when we were born, the time we were full of energy, ideas, aspirations, goals and objectives. During the afternoon of life, our goals to become "somebodies" are realized. It is the time for conquered heights, successes and chequered conquests. The evening of life is the time we grow old, when we prepare to meet our Maker to give an account of our stewardship.
Each of these moments of life is important because the success of a succeeding stage depends on that of a preceding stage. Each must also be wary of how each stage is spent, otherwise one lives to rue one's indiscretions and carelessness. Solomon was one indiscreet person. At the height of his wisdom, fame and wealth, Solomon gathered wives from practically every culture of the known world that time.
It is understandable that each of these foreign wives would bring her own cultural and religious practises which with time ran into conflict with the strict monotheism for which Israel was distinguished. The word of God today tells us very sadly that the same women turned Solomon's heart away from Yahweh. He erected abominations for the gods of these wives and burnt incense and sacrificed to their gods. The heart of Solomon was turned away from the Lord.
Solomon walked away from the covenant and statutes of Yahweh. He went after other gods. For this, Yahweh promised that He would tear the kingdom from the hands of Solomon and his descendants. Only one tribe would be given to Solomon for the sake of David, the servant of the Lord. Solomon did not do what was right and lost the favour of God. He angered Yahweh by sacrificing to demons. He lost faith in the power of Yahweh his God.
The Syrophoenician woman in today's gospel believed in the power of our Lord. Even when at face value our Lord's response to her could be construed to be an insult, this woman was totally undeterred. She knew what she wanted. She was not going to be distracted. Her response on this occasion pleased our Lord greatly. Our Lord told her, to her amazement and joy: "For saying this you may go your way; the demon has left your daughter."
We must hold on to our Lord in all the stages of our lives: morning, midday or afternoon, and evening. As we cling to Him, He renews our faith in His power to do the needful. The Syrophoenician woman went home today and found the child lying in bed, the demon was gone. That is the power the Lord wants to deploy on our behalf. Do we believe He has all it takes to rescue us from the sinking mud, the miry clay?
Let us pray: Lord our God, we thank you for the gift of our lives. Grant us true wisdom. Give us your grace to make the best use of every stage in our lives for the greater glory of your Holy name. Amen.
May the Living Word of God find a true dwelling place within our hearts and souls today and always.