February 10, 2022
Thursday of the fifth Week in Ordinary Time
Memorial of Saint Scholastica
Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, our readings leave me wondering about what makes God tick.
In our first reading, God exacts justice for Solomon’s unfaithfulness, but God does it sort of like a prosecutor in a plea bargain.
I will deprive you of the kingdom … but not during your lifetime1 Kings 11:11-13
It is your son whom I will deprive … but I won’t take away the whole kingdom.
What’s going on with God in this reading? Well, it’s more like “What’s going on with the writer as s/he tries, retrospectively, to interpret God’s role in Israel’s history?”
The passage is much more than a report on exchanges between God and Solomon.
It is a testament to Israel’s unwavering faith that God is intimately involved in their lives. In every circumstance, the believing community returns to the fact that experience leads to God and not away from Him.
So “Solomon … had TURNED his heart to strange gods”
BUT God had not turned from Solomon.
Nor would God EVER turn because
God has CHOSEN Israel.
In our Gospel, the Syrophoenician woman tries to get the favor of Jesus to turn toward her. And actually, Jesus sounds pretty mean and stingy about it.
Again the writer Mark is portraying, retrospectively, a significant time in Christ’s ministry. Jesus has really gone into hiding in a remote place. Apparently, he wants space to figure some things out. The story indicates that one of those things might be whether or not his ministry should embrace the Gentiles.
The persistence of this woman’s faith is a turning point for Jesus Who evolved, as we all do, in his understanding of his sacred role and meaning in the world.
These passages encourage us to constantly turn toward God Who lives our life with us. Day to day, our lives change and challenge us. But throughout, we must stay centered on our God who does not change. This sacred relationship is essential to our spiritual growth. As we become bigger in heart and soul, so does our concept of God and what God’s hope is for us.
Poetry: All this “turning” brought to mind some favorites lines from T.S. Eliot
At the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor fleshless;from Burnt Norton
Neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is,
But neither arrest nor movement. And do not call it fixity,
Where past and future are gathered. Neither movement from nor towards,
Neither ascent nor decline. Except for the point, the still point,
There would be no dance, and there is only the dance.
Music: Perfect Wisdom of Our God – The Gettys