One of the interesting things about our Gospel lesson (Mark 7:24-37) this morning is that Jesus seems to loose an argument. He says that the woman who wants healing for her daughter is like a dog and must wait for the ones more important than her and her daughter before she can have anything. She says that all she wants is the leftovers. The Jesus agrees and the daughter is healed.
The woman and daughter in question are Gentiles, not Jews; not members of the community of Jesus. An important question to ask when looking at scripture is to ask why the followers of Jesus told the story. What was so important about the story that they kept it and wrote it down? What does it tell us about Jesus that people thought we should know?
When we look at this story with these questions in mind it is no longer a story about winning an argument. It is a story about the breadth of God’s love and mercy. It is not a story about a group of people being like dogs, but about how all people are worthy of God’s love. If we think that a certain group is like a pack of dogs and unworthy of God’s love we are wrong. If we think that we are like dogs and unworthy of God’s love we are wrong.
If there are people with whom we are in dispute it is helpful to see them through the eye’s God. To see our enemies the way a loving parent might see them. To see them as if we want what’s best for them. And to always remember that God sees us in the same way.
This is Good News, hardly something we can keep to ourselves.