Summary: A sermon for the 13th Sunday after Pentecost Proper 15 The Canaanite woman and healing her daughter
13th Sunday after Pentecost
"Faith and Love"
"And Jesus went away from there and withdrew to the district of Tyre and Sidon. And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region came out and cried, "Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely possessed by a demon." But he did not answer her a word. And his disciples came and begged him, saying, "Send her away, for she is crying after us." He answered, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." But she came and knelt before him, saying, "Lord, help me." And he answered, "It is not fair to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs." She said, "Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table." Then Jesus answered her, "O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire." And her daughter was healed instantly." Matthew 15:21-28, RSV.
Grace and Peace to you from our Lord and Saviour, Jesus who is the Christ. Amen
I would like to share with you this morning, a brief description of a Charlie Chaplin’s movie, "City Lights". Chaplin plays a little vagabond tramp who opens himself to anyone who opens their door to him. He becomes a vehicle for salvation for both a poor blind girl and a rich man. The rich man is bent on drowning himself. Charlie befriends him and the rich man, who is drunk at the time, takes the little tramp home with him for dinner. When the rich man. sobers up he rejects the little clown and even accuses him of stealing money which the rich man in his drunken stupor had given him. Fleeing the police, the little clown manages to get the money into the hands of a poor blind girl for an operation she desperately needs to restore her sight. Then, he is arrested and imprisoned.
After serving a sentence in prison, the little tramp emerges shabbier than ever. The blind girl had imagined the one who thrust the money in her hands to be a handsome, wealthy young man. Now that her sight has been restored via surgery she does not recognize him.
As the little tramp forlornly shuffles by the window of her new floral shop, which she had bought with his money. she ridicules him. The pathos and tragedy become intense as the shop owner heaps scorn on the very one who had gone to prison for the money which had made her what she is. Only in the final scene of the film does she discover that the shabby little tramp was her benefactor. She touches his arm and his face once again. exactly as she did in that moment of blindness. As she realizes what has happened, she whispers, "You!"
Love comes in all kinds of different packages. Love comes in all kinds of. different shapes, color, people and situations. The little blind girl imagined that the love extended to her was from a rich and handsome young man, not a tramp an ex-con, a bum.
This was the kind of person, "the little clown tramp" was, that deserved the scorn of people, not the praise, not the thanks. He was only a tramp, a no-gooder, but in fact, he was really the one who brought grace, love, salvation and hope into at least two people’s lives.
The rich man be saved from drowning and the blind girl whom he sacrificed years of his life in prison, so that she might be able to see. Love does indeed come in many different ways.
When the blind girl was restored . to sigh , at first her love was prejudiced, when she realized that this little clown tramp in his black suit, funny hat, and black cane was her rescuer, she praised, she thanked, she began’ to love him in return.
Our gospel lesson for today is about tow people with love in their hearts, Jesus and the Canaanite woman. At first glance this seems to be a harsh account in the life of Jesus, but when we look closely at this story, it is really a story about love, the love of a mother for her daughter and the love of Jesus for a worried mother and a sick daughter.
Jesus had left Jewish lands to go into Gentile lands to be alone, to regroup his thoughts, to prepare this disciples for the coming events of the cross. He needed to get away from the demanding crowds, for time alone, to rest, to teach, to pray to gain strength. So he went into Gentile lands north of Galilee, because the Jewish people would not follow him there.
But while in this land, a Gentile woman come to him begging him to heal her daughter. Jesus’ fame must have even spread into lands that he had not even visited. This woman had so much faith in a man that she had never met that she was pleading him to say the words and her sick daughter at would would be made well.