Today's theme is inclusivity, the hope of the gospel is no longer exclusively for the lost sheep of Israel but now, thanks to the faith of the Syrophoenician woman, to the gentile also!
The story of the Syrophoenician woman in Tyre is nothing less than the genesis of Jesus' ministry to the gentiles. Mark's version of the story leaves out a good half of the interchange between the woman and Jesus and is therefore a poorer version than the one we read in John, in my opinion, but the point is made nonetheless.
In this story we have Jesus, the gentle saviour of humankind, as rude and hurtful and awful as we have Him anywhere in the whole of the Greek text. Jesus is downright dismissive of the woman who seeks only the restoration of her sick daughter. Jesus and the disciples shoo her away, dismiss her, insult her but she is undeterred. It's the woman who is the real hero here. The text does not give her a name...of course...but in the wider Church tradition she has come to be known as Justa. It is Justa's wit and courage and strength and determination and faith that cause a singular thing to happen in this story that happens nowhere else in the whole of the new testament, the repentance of Jesus. By her wit and intelligence Justa is able to communicate a faith to Jesus that breaks His heart and teaches Him to understand that the promise of redemption is not only for the "lost sheep of Israel" but for the whole of creation
Here is a reason to quote Isaiah from the Hebrew text reading for the day:
"Be strong, do not fear! Here is your God.”
Praise God, Indeed God is worthy to be praised ...and thank you, Justa!