Mark 7: 24-30

From there he set out and went away to the region of Tyre. He entered a house and did not want anyone to know he was there. Yet he could not escape notice, but a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit immediately heard about him, and she came and bowed down at his feet. Now the woman was a Gentile, of Syrophoenician origin. She begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter.

He said to her, “Let the children be fed first, for it is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.” But she answered him, “Sir, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” Then he said to her, “For saying that, you may go—the demon has left your daughter.” So she went home, found the child lying on the bed, and the demon gone.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved

Those Pesky Personal Demons

Spiritual directors remind us that it is important to be attentive to the inner dialogue of head and heart deep within. How does that inner dialogue take place for you and for me? Perhaps today’s gospel gives us a clue.

Recall that the unnamed Syro-Phoenician woman is a foreigner . . . a person who by Jewish Law Jesus should ignore. She presses the life-and-death need of her daughter possessed by a demon. As the dialogue proceeds, this formidable woman moves Jesus’ heart. Perhaps the tide turns with this zinger: “Lord, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s scraps.”

She makes her point. And we can almost hear time stand still as Jesus looks at her with compassion . . . and then assures her that the demon enslaving her daughter is now gone. We can imagine her rushing to her daughter’s side, discovering for herself the truth of Jesus’ healing words. She trusts . . . and then rejoices.

For you and me, what kind of demon is Jesus hoping to banish from our daily living and personal relationships? Can I trust that Jesus will come to my aid?

—The Jesuit Prayer Team


Lord, we pray that you banish from our thoughts that which causes us to dwell on past mistakes, regrets, or injustices or thoughts that wrap us in fears of the future. Help us to stay present in the day, to be mindful of the now, and to bolster our delight in the blessings that surround us in the moments of today.

—The Jesuit Prayer Team