Little daughter freed from the devil
Immediately a woman who had her little daughter possessed by an unclean spirit, as soon as she knew, went and threw herself at her feet.
Gospel - Mark [7, 24-30]
Leaving there, he went to the region of Tiro and Sidon. And entered a house, he wanted no one to know, but he could not remain hidden. Immediately a woman who had her little daughter possessed by an unclean spirit, as soon as she knew, went and threw herself at her feet. Now, that woman who begged him to cast out the devil from her daughter was Greek, of Syrian-Phoenician origin. And he said to her: "Let the son be fed first; it is not good to take the son's bread and throw it to the dogs". But she replied: "Yes, Lord, but even the little dogs under the table eat the crumbs of the sons". Then he said to her: "For this word of yours go, the devil has come out of your daughter". Back home, he found the girl lying on the bed and the devil was gone.
Exegesis - Gospel Mark [7, 24-30]In this Chapter 7 Mark makes us understand that Jesus is truly the Son of God through some messianic signs. In the first 23 verses he presents to us the first messianic sign, that is, the teaching on purity and impurity as the fulfillment of the law: "There is nothing external to man that, entering into him, can defile him. Rather, they are things. those that defile man come out of man. [...]
From within, that is, from the hearts of men, evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, killings, adulteries, greed, wickedness, deceit, lust, envy, blasphemy, pride and foolishness. All these evil things proceed from within and defile man".
(Mk 7, 15,21-23).
Now he presents us with the second messianic sign, liberation from the devil and his defeat: Jesus casts out the demon before, at the conclusion of Chapter 7, the healing of a deaf-mute is reported, as another messianic sign. This story of the little daughter freed from the devil therefore fits into a particular context: "Immediately a woman who had her daughter possessed by an unclean spirit, as soon as she knew it, went and threw herself at her feet".
What amazement! This woman was Greek, that is polytheist and therefore pagan; also she was of Syro-Phoenician origin, far from the Jewish culture. And how does the approach with Jesus take place? Jesus says to her: "Let her son be fed first; it is not good to take the son's bread and throw it to the dogs". And surprising is the answer of this woman: "Yes, Lord, but even the dogs under the table eat the crumbs of the sons". (the Jews used to give the name of "dogs" to the pagans).
Certainly this woman was enlightened; in fact, as soon as she knows of Jesus' presence there where she lived too, she goes to look for him and throws herself at his feet: this is always the attitude that precedes every request for liberation, it is the attitude of one who is certain that Jesus is the son of God. Throwing herself at his feet is the act with which the woman declares with gestures: "I am in the presence of God". But how does that woman be so sure of Jesus' true nature? That woman was Greek of Syro-Phoenician origin, in essence she was a pagan! Paul will go and preach the Gospel to the pagans, because they will welcome it, while the Jews refused it: "In hearing this, the pagans rejoiced and glorified the word of the Lord, and all those who were destined for eternal life believed the word of the Lord spread throughout the region. But the Jews stirred up the pious women of the nobility and the notables of the city and aroused persecution against Paul and Barnabas and drove them out of their territory".
But who told that Syrian-Phoenician woman who Jesus was? James answers the question when he affirms that knowledge of God in Jesus is possible only if we have wisdom in us, and "if any of you lack wisdom, ask God, who gives generously to everyone and without reproaching him, and it will be done". (Jas 1,5). But Mark adds something more, it is as if he were telling us: that woman was guided by wisdom, by a divine wisdom that was precluded to the Pharisees and the high priests.
Just remember the beautiful prayer of Jesus when he says that "Blessed are the pure in heart because they will see God". That woman, undoubtedly guided by Wisdom, throws herself at Jesus' feet to express his plea, to which Jesus replies: "Let the sons be fed first" or "I was sent first for those who belong to the people of Israel", and therefore "it is not good to take the sons' bread and throw it to the dogs", as the pagans were called at that time. But the woman does not give up and her answer is bold and incredible: "Yes, Lord, but even the little dogs under the table eat the sons' crumbs".
Jesus no longer makes any comment, thus he has the certain proof that that woman has understood through Wisdom who He is: "By this word of yours go, the devil has come out of your daughter". But what did this woman say that was so important? He recognized the infinite power of the divine that is in Jesus: although he does not belong to the Jewish tradition, he does not present himself to Him with presumption, but throws himself at His feet in an act of humble waiting for the decision with which Jesus will follow or not the request. In summary, that woman reveals, with her attitude, the willingness to accept whatever the will of Jesus and compares herself to the little dogs under the table who are satisfied with the crumbs: she only waits for Jesus to grant her even just a breath of His mercy. It is the attitude of one who has unshakable faith: surrender, abound, wait; "I'm staying here because I'm sure that sooner or later even just crumbs will fall off the table".
James exhorts us to consider a "perfect joy, my brothers, when you undergo all sorts of trials, knowing that your faith, when tested, produces patience. And patience completes its work in you, so that you may be perfect and whole, without lack of nothing".
This woman was put to the test by Jesus when he reminds her that she does not belong to the people of Israel, but she reacts with patience, not giving up on her intent: her faith is tested and patience allows God to complete her work. But her wisdom was able to act in her because she was not subject to her lusts.
Mark therefore presents this woman to us as an example to be imitated in order to come to recognize Jesus through the intervention of Wisdom, on condition that he is free from any concupiscence.