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Jesus Meets a Parable.

Jesus Meets a Parable
(Mark 7:24-30)

   There is a lesson you've been teaching them
   for almost three years now, so patiently--your
   every blessed word and gesture hung upon,
   your pedagogical resources mined almost
   to nothing.

   They follow you like hungry children squalling for
   that holy bread they heard about;
   they wolf it down, but only
   one in ten connects the healing
   with the One who heals.

   They simply cannot grasp the deeper meaning--merely
   dazzled by the multiplying loaves and frightened
   silly by your momentary domination of a wave or two.

   And yesternight at supper, when
   that clutch of Pharisees barged in
   to point accusing fingers at your unwashed hands.
   you called them hypocrites, then later
   lost your temper with your friends
   still asking how you fed the multitude and
   what on earth you meant by it.

   You hope your father won't begrudge a
   weekend getaway in Tyre, alone--for
   metaphorical replenishment of inner candies.

   So, you slip away across the border to a sleepy suburb
   in the foreign bosom of a pagan god,
   and book into a little place where your celebrity
   can twinkle quietly beneath a bushel.

   There, she finds you.
   Never mind the private sign upon the door.

   She's veiled, of course,
   according to the custom of the place,
   and all you see are weary, shadowed eyes
   like those of that thin cur who barked outside just now.

   She says her daughter has a demon--(here's
   another one who wants a piece of you.)
   You tell her it's not fair
   to throw the children's bread to dogs.

   (You can't believe you said this, but you did.)

   Her eyes are mirrors;
   you can see your tiny face reflected there,
   the mouth that let the insult free,
   the hand that was not quick enough to cover it.

   Her eyes become a loving mother's eyes
   that see a tired and fretful darling boy.

   "Even the dogs," she says, "beneath the table
   eat the children's crumbs."

   In that instant
   All the bread you ever were, is leavened--doubled,
         tripled,
         infinite
   and suddenly you know the answer to that question
         even you
   were loath to ask:
   Those brimming baskets at the hillside feast,
   those pesky fragments--whose
   were those?

   The lesson just got harder,
   and the children's mouths more numerous than
   ever could be filled without
   a death-defying miracle.

   You thank her and you grant her wish
   and show her shrouded body to the door,
   then turn your face toward Jerusalem.
COPYRIGHT 2004 General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada
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Title Annotation:Culture
Author:Malton, Mel
Publication:Anglican Journal
Date:Jun 1, 2004
Words:406
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