Jesus And The Canaanite Woman (Matthew 15:21-28)
Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. Now a Canaanite woman came from those borders and began to cry out, “Lord, Son of David, have pity on me! My daughter is tormented by a demon”. But Jesus did not answer her, not even a word. So his disciples approached him and said, “Send her away: see how she is shouting after us”. Then Jesus said to her, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the nation of Israel”.
But the woman was already kneeling before Jesus and said, “Sir, help me!”. Jesus answered, “It is not right to take the bread from the children and throw it to the little dogs”. The woman replied, “It is true, sir, but even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their master’s table”. Then Jesus said, “Woman, how great is your faith! Let it be as you wish”. And her daughter was healed at that moment.
Today, we often hear the expression “faith has been lost”, and the same people who ask our communities the baptism of their children or the catechesis for their infants or the sacrament of marriage, say it. These words depict the world in a negative way while trying to convince us bygone times were better and that we are now at the end of a stage where there is nothing left for us to say or to do.
Evidently, these are basically young people who, in its majority, watch rather sadly how the world has changed from their parents’ times, who used to live perhaps a more popular faith, which they have not known how to adapt to. This experience leaves them unsatisfied and without any capacity of reaction when, in fact, they might find themselves at the gates of a new stage they could very well take advantage of.
This passage of the Gospel draws the attention to that Canaanite mother that demands grace for her daughter by recognizing in Jesus the Son of David: “Lord, Son of David, have pity on me! My daughter is tormented by a demon” (Mt 15:22). The Master is surprised: “Woman, how great is your faith!” and He can do nothing but to act in favour of those persons: “Let it be as you wish” (Mt 15:28), although this does not seem to fall within his schedule. However, God’s grace is manifested in human realities.
Faith is not a privilege of a few, nor is it the property of those who think they are so good or of those who have ever been good, and have this social or ecclesial label. God’s action precedes any Church’s action and the Holy Spirit is already acting upon persons we would have never suspected could bring us a message from God, a request in favour of the needy.
St. Leo says: “My beloved, the virtue and wisdom of Christian faith are our love of God and of our neighbour: it does not miss any obligation to any pious works procuring to render God worship due to him and to help our brethren”.
– – – written by Fr. Jordi CASTELLET i Sala (Barcelona, Spain)