Daily Devotional for January 30
January 30 Mark 7:24-37
An order of Roman Catholic priests called Dominicans (named
for their founder, St. Dominic) is known for scholarship and
orthodoxy. As inquisitors looking for theological deviations
and heresies, they have been dubbed "The Hounds of God,"
rendered in latin by "Domini" (of God) and "cani" (dogs).
An old Roman adage says the city of Rome is so hot in August
that the only creatures who remain there are the "cani" and
the "Dominicani." Though the insult is taken in jest by the
Dominicans, it might well originally have been a rather hateful
The insulting remark of Jesus to the woman looking for a cure
for her daughter may be a sign of his extreme tiredness and
his annoyance that his peace and quiet had been interrupted,
or, as others have suggested, it may show that even Jesus was
subject to cultural prejudice against a certain group, a prejudice
which he had to overcome. [* To me, this a stupid interpretation.
The Christ who spent 40 days without food and still overcame the
temptation of Satan himself, did NOT have a momentary relapse
of prejudice. Jesus was bringing her faith out for everyone to see...
to glorify God, as he always did. L.M.]
What strikes us about the account is that the woman simply
refused to let a painful and derogatory remark anger or distract
her from her main objective. She turned it right back on Jesus.
She knew her own self-worth and basic goodness. She would
not accept the negativity and the oppression implied by the
designation. And she is the only person in the whole Gospel
who got the better of Jesus in a verbal duel! [How ridiculous! L.M.]
Author Brian McNaught says that certain words we use about
people suggest less than human status. "I also think they
dehumanize you," he states, "regardless of who is using
them."¹ Just as ethnic jokes can create false images of people,
so do depreciative words about race, religion, and sexuality
create false images, both for the person being subjected to them
and the person using them.
May the Lord today help me to understand the truth about
people and speak words that humanize and build them up.
May the Lord cast out my demons of words and descriptions
that limit others - and myself as well.
¹ McNaught, Brian, On Being Gay (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1988), p. 22.
From The Road to Emmaus - An inclusive devotional Edited by Joseph W. Houle
Emmaus House of Prayer - Washington D.C