“It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” (Genesis 2:18)
Our first reading today is a continuation of the second account of creation. As we noted yesterday, this second account seeks to drive home the point that God created the whole world just for man’s sake; to give him food, comfort and happiness. While the first account of creation states clearly that God created male and female at the same time together, (Genesis 1:27) this second account gives a different story.
While we may try to analyse the details of this story, it would be more beneficial for us to focus on the message of this story; a message that Jesus Christ himself quoted while teaching about divorce: “Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh.” (Genesis 2:24; Cf. Matthew 19:5)
In other words, the whole point for all that story about God forming a woman from man’s ribs is not to say that women are in any way inferior to men. Rather, it is the Bible’s way of explaining the natural attraction that exists between a male and a female. This story does not contradict the first account in that it proves that male and female came from the same source. Marriage creates a perfect atmosphere for humans to realize the original oneness of male and female at creation and so it gives room for new human life to be created.
The second account of creation attests to the fact that there is nothing in this world that can satisfy our heart as much as the love we feel for our fellow human beings. Just as Adam was unhappy until he met Eve, the Syrophoenician woman in our Gospel passage was restless so long as her daughter was under the possession of unclean spirits. One word that connects both stories is love. Even if you gave this woman a million dollars in place of her daughter, she would prefer her daughter instead.
Of course, this woman was ready to do anything for the sake of love. Jesus made a parable to test her faith. “Let the children first be fed, for it is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” But she answered him, “Yes, Lord; yet even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” (Mark 7:27-28). Jesus was so impressed by her faith that He declared: “For this saying you may go your way; the demon has left your daughter.” (Mark 7:29)
It was quite an irony that while the “children” in this context (the Jews) while having difficulty accepting Jesus Christ as God, pointing fingers and finding fault with everything He did, the “dogs” knew better. A similar scenario would play out in Jesus’ encounter with the Centurion. The faith of this foreigner so touched Jesus that He said: “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.” (Luke 7:9). Hence, Jesus concluded: “A prophet is not without honour, except in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house.” (Mark 6:4)
Let us examine ourselves: Have we become like these Jews who took Jesus for granted due to their familiarity with Him? Is there still any atom of faith in me? Am I like this woman willing to pray until something happens? If I were in her shoes, would I pass the test?
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, teach me to love and adore you and to love my neighbours as myself. Bless all married couples and give direction to those seeking to settle down that they may experience nothing but the pure love you intended for us at creation. Amen.
Bible Study: Genesis 2:18-25, Psalm 128, and Mark 7:24-30).