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The Reluctant Healer

The story of The Syro-Phoenician Woman (as I grew up hearing it titled) has always been one of my favorite stories from the Gospels because in it, Jesus seems to undergo that common experience of all humanity: to dismiss another person in your mind and then be slapped in the face by some utterance or action that reveals that person to be a complex human being demanding of your respect. I don’t know what the theological implications of an episode like this might be, but the human drama of it seems absolutely grounded in reality.

Another fascinating aspect of this story is the evident desire on the part of Jesus to keep a low profile. He’s just fed the Five Thousand, walked on the water, and performed mass healings, but escapes when the people try to crown him king right then and there. He then flees to Tyre, non-Israeli territory, and does his best not to perform any more miracles, or at least to not let word get out about them. But he’s unable to refrain from helping those in need, and they in turn are unable to keep silent.

More human nature in action!

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