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Daily Scripture Reflections

Love the Stranger

Thursday, February 14, 2019 • John Morris
You love your spouse, but do you love your neighbor or the stranger?

Mark 7:26

The woman was a Greek, a Syrophoenician by birth, and she begged him to drive the demon out of her daughter.

Today is Valentine's Day, the day of love.  I have heard there are 3 kinds of love—eros, philos and agape.  Eros is the physical attraction and infatuation—much of what Valentine's Day is about.  Philos is the loved based on friendship between people, like a brother or sisterhood.  Agape is unconditional love, the deepest kind—the love of all of mankind.  So how does this relate to today's reading?

Mark, the author of today's gospel, mentions that the woman in the story was Greek and Syrophoenician by birth.  Why did he just not say a woman?  Usually the authors never mentioned where they were from unless they were making a point, like the Samaritan.  Jesus was often put in positions to heal and eat when the old law said it was forbidden.  Jesus always used these opportunities as teaching moments.  In today's lesson, he teaches that he can heal anyone regardless of the national status, language, faith tradition or background.  He challenges us today to have a deeper love than just a physical or eros love.  We need to take it further, to be compassionate and caring for all.  Our world is full of discrimination based on looks, nationality, financial status and more.  We are challenged as a world, as a nation, as a society today to care for others.  We must learn to be compassionate and accepting to everyone, not just those from our country, but those who need healing from other lands.  There are refugees fleeing wars, famine, political strife, drugs, etc.  We are taught to help all of our brothers and sisters, not just those from our land but from everywhere.  Lord, give us the grace to love all with a pure heart and to help those in need. 

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