February 8, Thursday of the Fifth Week in Ordinary Time
Memorial of Saints Jerome Emiliani, priest and Saint Josephine Bakhita, Virgin
Daily readings: 1 Kings 11:4-13, Mark 7:24-30
Fidelity in God is not just a one-day affair or limited to a period. It is a lifelong task. Solomon forgets about it at one point in time. To fulfill the desires and demands of his numerous wives, Solomon loses his way and goes away from God. The man who built a monumental temple for the God of Israel succumbed under the pressure of his wives and began to build numerous altars for foreign gods, which amounts to prostitution.
The author of the First Book of Kings keeps on comparing the lives of David, his father, and Solomon to highlight the miserable failure of Solomon on all accounts. God is angry with him and yet does not punish him for the sake of David. All the punishments that God wishes to give will come upon the household of Solomon only after his death. God gives him a long rope. It is perhaps time to repent. It is God’s way of dealing with people whom He has chosen. That is why the choice of Ps 106 for our reflection today gains momentum. The Psalmist pleads to God that He may remember His people, who are His favourites!
By now, the fame of Jesus has spread out not only in the land of Israel but also in Gentile regions. Jesus goes to the region of Tyre in search of anonymity and to escape from the crowds. It is a time he sets aside to recuperate and catch up with his Father. A Syrophoenician woman appears before Jesus as if she has been waiting for him. Her request is to exorcise her little daughter. Jesus tests her faith and perseverance with a statement that makes many people think that he belittles her. Jesus’ words evoke a profound response from the highly determined woman: “Sir, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs” (v. 28). Jesus can’t resist anymore in the face of a profound confession of faith. The woman gets what she desires.
Holy Mother Church honours two saints: St. Josephine Bakhita & Jerome Emiliani. Bakhita’s story is one of despair, slavery, and maltreatment. Her baptism paved the way to falling in love with Jesus and that changed her entire life to become a universal model of patience, forgiveness, and perseverance.
St. Jerome Emiliani, an Italian by birth, founded the Congregation of the Clerks Regular of Somasca, committed to the care of orphans and the education of youth. He is an example of conversion due to intense prayer.
Call to Action for Catholic Living: It is human to experience despair and lose faith in God. The ones who patiently persevere in their beliefs will reap an abundant harvest of blessings!
Radio Veritas Asia (RVA), a media platform of the Catholic Church, aims to share Christ. RVA started in 1969 as a continental Catholic radio station to serve Asian countries in their respective local language, thus earning the tag “the Voice of Asian Christianity.” Responding to the emerging context, RVA embraced media platforms to connect with the global Asian audience via its 21 language websites and various social media platforms.