Minnesota Episcopal
Commission (MEESC)

Episcopal Church in Minnesota
Shield of Episcopal Church

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Resolution on the Spirituality of Food Production

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Lectionary Reflection

Year B, Proper 18
Episcopal (Standard) Lectionary – Revised Common Lectionary

Mark 7: 31-37 [Episcopal (Standard) Lectionary]
Mark 7: 24-37 [Revised Common Lectionary]

[Begin RCL] From there he 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.

[Begin Standard Lectionary] Then he returned from the region of Tyre, and went by way of Sidon towards the Sea of Galilee, in the region of the Decapolis. They brought to him a deaf man who had an impediment in his speech; and they begged him to lay his hand on him. He took him aside in private, away from the crowd, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spat and touched his tongue. Then looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him, ‘Ephphatha’, that is, ‘Be opened.’ And immediately his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly. Then Jesus ordered them to tell no one; but the more he ordered them, the more zealously they proclaimed it. They were astounded beyond measure, saying, ‘He has done everything well; he even makes the deaf to hear and the mute to speak.’ [End both Lectionary Readings]


Reflection on Mark 7: 24-37
Mark 7: 31-37
by the Rev Sally Maxwell

People brought their friend to Jesus for healing. Jesus modestly healed him, organically so by touching the man's ears and tongue. The man's ability to hear and speak were "opened", that is healed. Prior to this the man had been an outcast, but now he was liberated. Jesus had "done well".

Sallie McFague, in her book, The Body of God: An Ecological Theology (Fortress Press, Minneapolis, 1993) comments on Jesus' healing stories as they relate to the sickness of the planet, and its need for healing. She claims that human bias has made nature and the earth an "outcast", to be used only for human needs. She says that healing stories are extremely valuable during these times of ecological destruction; they can help to break down the denial of how ill the planet really is.

McFague wants us to focus on the health of all creation. Her model of the world (and the universe) as God's body encourages a daringness to love God's body, that is to love and care for the earth as God's body. Please reference McFague's book for a fuller grasp of her important theological lens.

Printable version


To Reflections on other Readings for Year B, Proper 18:

Reflections available at the active links
Standard (Episcopal) Lectionary
Revised Common
Semi-Continuous Track
Gospel Theme Track
Old Testament
(Hebrew Scripture) Reading:
Proverbs 22: 1-2, 8-9, 22-23
Psalm 125
New Testament Reading:
James 1: 17-27
James 2: 1-10, (11-13), 14-27
Mark 7: 31-37
(this page)
Mark 7: 24-37
(this page)


The Rev Sally Maxwell was the campus minister at the University of Minnesota-Duluth, Duluth, MN, when she originally wrote this reflection in 2012. Sally and we welcome your comments. Please address your comments or additional reflections to Rev Sally Maxwell or any MEESC member, or mail them to:

c/o C. Morello
4451 Lakeside Drive
Eveleth, MN 55743-4400 USA

The MEESC assumes that all correspondence received is for publication on this web site. If your comments are not for publication, please so note on your correspondence. The MEESC reserves the right to decide which items are included on the website.


This page last updated 2012-08-22.

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