Restoring her Voice (1): The Syrophoenician Woman as an icon for enlarged thinking
This year the Sunday Lectionary invites us to reflect of what Mark the evangelist describes as the ‘Good News about Jesus Christ’ (Mark 1:1). But the Church, for reasons known only to itself, denies us the opportunity to view this portrait in all of its power and splendor by omitting two keys passages from our Sunday worship. The healing of the Gerasene demoniac in Mark 5:1-20, and indeed the parallel texts in Matthew 8:28-34 and Luke 8:26-39, are omitted entirely from the three-year Sunday cycle. The encounter between Jesus and an unnamed Syrophoenician woman, recorded in Mark 7:24-31, is also omitted this year though the parallel, but very distinct, account of Jesus and a Canaanite woman in Matthew 15:21-28 is proclaimed on the 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time in Year A.