1Kgs 11:4-13; Ps106:3,4,35,36,37,40; Mk 7:24-30
In his later years King Solomon let his foreign wives and concubines draw him away from the LORD God Almighty. A Syrophoenician woman demonstrated great faith to the Lord Jesus, and he cast out a demon from her daughter. We lift up their voices in the prayer of today’s psalm: “Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.” For as long as Solomon worshiped the One True God, the King and his people enjoyed the favor of the Lord. Like Solomon many have turned to idols. Some even sacrifice their children to the great and demanding “god” of convenience and economic necessity. Even though the idolatry of Solomon provoked the anger of God, the LORD did not totally abandon his people, one tribe remained for the House of David. This kindness was to fulfill the Father’s plan to bring forth a Savior from the family of David, who was a man after his own heart. Even though our idolatry provokes the righteous anger of the Almighty, the LORD still reveals his healing love through the intercession of his Immaculate Mother.
The young Solomon had the wisdom to wow the Queen of Sheba without having his heart turned by some strange god. However, as he grew older Solomon did not remain faithful to the LORD, his God. He did not inherit the heart of his father, King David, who always wanted what the LORD wanted, and trusted the LORD’s mercy even when he sinned grievously. Solomon built altars to false gods and worshiped the strange gods of his women. Perhaps he was just trying to make Israel more inclusive and user friendly to the many nations from which his wives and concubines came. Perhaps it was some worldly wisdom for the great king of Israel to be politically correct. His wisdom became foolishness. There is no God but the LORD. To worship another god is to deny your own dignity. As the saints throughout the ages have taught us, we become what we worship. If we worship a god who demands temple prostitution and enfant sacrifice, we become what we worship. Not every cult of worship is focused upon the One True God. When our hearts turn away from the LORD, we suffer the consequences of our foolishness. We become divided and weakened. This break up of the Kingdom would make them easier to conquer, and they would eventually end up in captivity and exile. However, even after all this idolatry the LORD still leaves one son of Solomon on the throne of David, his father. The LORD is faithful to his servant David and to the Jerusalem that he has chosen. His choice does not depend upon our choices.
The Lord Jesus does not stay out of pagan territory. Even though he sees his primary mission to the house of Israel, still he goes to the district of Tyre. He seems to be very careful not to make public his arrival in the town; he enters a house and wanted no one to know about it. However, he cannot escape notice especially by a woman in great need. This unnamed Greek Woman has a daughter with an unclean spirit. She is desperate to help her child. Upon begging the Lord Jesus to help her daughter she grows in faith before his eyes. This woman’s plea is much more urgent than the Woman at the wedding feast of Canna who asked her son to take care of the couple’s breech in hospitality. This Woman isn’t related to the Lord Jesus, and she is desperate. She is a foreign woman; she worships strange gods. She is a Syrophoenician by birth; she probably knows the all the cults we heard about in the first reading. However, she believes in the Lord Jesus. Not only does she believe in him in some theoretical or abstract way, this woman believes that the Lord Jesus can cast out demons and wants to help even those who are not of the house of Israel. Otherwise, why would he go to the district of Tyre? He knows about those who live there. He knows they are pagans. He also knows that the evil one has a grip on their souls. This grip he has come to end, once and for all, for this woman, her daughter, and all who are lost and under the power of demons.