Jesus' ministry is not what John the Baptist expected it to be.
Season after Pentecost | 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B)
Isaiah 35:4-7a (Psalm 146); James 2:1-10, (11-13), 14-17; Mark 7:24-37 | Semi-continuous first reading: Proverbs 22:1-2, 8-9, 22-23 (Psalm 125)
In the Talmud, there is a story of a group of rabbis arguing over the status of a particular clay oven. Is it clean or unclean? Rabbi Eliezer stands alone against the interpretation given by his fellow sages, and he begins to call upon nature to confirm him.
I have spent most of my Christian life in deep discomfort with Mark 7. I now read it as an early example of the priesthood of all believers.
On September 9, when many of our members return from Labor Day vacations or summer travels, the gospel text from Mark and the sacrament of communion might be a powerful combination to welcome folks back to the gospel-centered community. Whether she knows it or not, the Syrophoenician woman’s reference to the table is a persuasive image for her audience. The table stands at the center of Jesus’ ministry.