Names are very important to us; if we hear someone call out our name in a crowd; well, in my case, all the Kevins move toward the sound of the caller. Our name defines our identity.
In the first reading, we see that the name Adam, which generically means humankind, was fashioned from the red clay of the earth…Adamah in Hebrew. ‘Life’ was breathed into humankind by the Lord God. Here in this passage, we see the fashioning of a Woman around a rib of Adam. Curious? I am! It seems that God, in using one of Adam’s ribs to make Eve, is telling us that woman was created to be ‘beside’ man. Together, the man and woman complement each other and become one.
The Gospel today situates Jesus in his missionary journey and a Pagan woman sees in Jesus, the saving hand of God! She prostrates herself on the ground…..the Adamah, and pleads for ‘healing and restoration’ for her daughter. The woman automatically goes into an ‘intercession’ mode for her daughter to be restored to completeness, to be free from evil. Jesus tests her request, but she does not go quietly; assertively, her insight into Jesus was developing. Jesus saw that and she became a walking ‘Beatitude.’ Her life and her daughter’s life was changed forever and that salvation was open to all.
Our Mission in life is to work towards completeness, harmony, equality, and recognition of the saving hand of God at work in Jesus and to respond to it. In other words, bringing Heaven to Earth as we pray in the Lord’s prayer.
Kevin Walsh is a priest in the Diocese of Parramatta in Sydney. He has been formed in the Passionist tradition, and Ministers to the Aged, the Sick, the Dying and the Bereaved.