Today’s gospel reading is one of my favorites, in part because it shows us Jesus’s steep learning curve. It’s also particularly relevant as the Trump administration once again steps up its draconian measures against people seeking asylum.
Time reports on the latest Trump move:
When a June 20 executive order ended the practice, the Administration sought to detain immigrant families together. Those efforts have so far been thwarted because of a longstanding court agreement that requires the government to release immigrant children after 20 days in detention.
On Thursday, the Administration filed proposed regulation to terminate that court order, known as the Flores Settlement Agreement, and detain entire families for the duration of the legal proceedings that determine if they can stay. The rule, which will published on Friday, would also allow the federal government to transfer family units to facilities that are not “state licensed,” which is currently required. The government says licensing requirements have limited its ability to use family detention.
Now for Mark 7:24-30:
Jesus 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.
Jesus at first sounds like those who claim that immigrants are taking American jobs, but in his case the prejudice represents the ritual taboos that comprise his world view. After the woman’s compelling analogy, however, he sheds centuries of religious practice in a moment, seeing God even in a Gentile. Under the power of love and concern, his vision becomes revolutionary.
I don’t like for my Sunday posts to be negative so I turn to a poem with a positive spin: heaven awaits us if we open our arms to those seeking asylum. “We reap not, what we do not sow,” Blake tells us, and if we were to welcome the strangers rather than treat them like criminals, the harvest would be plentiful.
Blake uses the image of a pure maiden, which contrasts dramatically with the contorted faces of those who would construct walls. Innocence would bloom on the cheek, honor would twine around the brows, and “the jewel health” would adorn the neck.
Welcome stranger to this place,
Where joy doth sit on every bough,
Paleness flies from every face,
We reap not, what we do not sow.
Innocence doth like a Rose,
Bloom on every Maidens cheek;
Honor twines around her brows,
The jewel Health adorns her neck.
How is that as a positive incentive for inclusivity and acceptance?