Memorial of St Josephine Bahkita
By REV. FR. SAMUEL FREDERICK
1 Kgs 11:4-13, Mk 7: 24-30. Today’s first reading pictures Solomon as succumbing to pressure from his many foreign wives by turning away from the worship of the One True God to the worship of pagan gods brought in by foreign wives. Due to his infidelity, Solomon lose control over the complete kingdom of the twelve tribes and be left with only one tribe, Benjamin, besides Judah. By contrast, a pagan woman, a Syro-Phoenician reported in today’s Gospel presents us with great faith and humble perseverance.
In his response to the Syro-Phoenician woman, Jesus at first pays no attention to her request. What He said about not throwing the children’s food to the dogs was countered by her mild reply: “but even the dogs under the table eat the family’s leavings.” This apt, humble answer overcomes all objections, so Jesus heals the woman’s daughter – a splendid example of faith and perseverance rewarded. The dedication of Josephine Bahkita was rewarded by the hope of eternal glory. Josephine Bakhita was a renowned freed slave who had difficult childhood as he was captured and separated from her family. She was enslaved and sold from master to master, until eventually she was bought by an Italian Vice Consul. She then became a nanny to the children of an Italian family, and eventually, had an encounter with God and the Christian faith through the Canossian Sisters in Venice. Through the help of the Church and the Patriarch of Venice, the courts ruled in her favour, declaring her enslavement had been unlawful. As a free woman, she continued to dedicate herself to God and community around her, living a holy and pious life.
May the Lord grant us His mercy and show us His steadfast love! Amen!! Have a glorious day!!!