Summary: She was probably a single mom with a special needs child, and she desperately needed Jesus’ help.
She was probably a single mom with a special needs child, and she desperately needed Jesus’ help.
Jesus’ reaction to this desperate woman’s request is quite interesting. The truth is, he didn’t respond at all. His disciples certainly did not want anything to do with the woman, i.e. “Please Don't Speak to Me While I'm Not Listening.”
Then, as if things could not get any worse, Jesus turned to the woman and said that he had been sent to minister to the Jewish community, “only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
To make matters seemingly worse, Jesus repeated a saying of his day that the pagans were nothing but dogs, although he used the word “puppies” to soften it.
Yet, in verse 28, Jesus tells her, “you have Great faith.”
Greek word…’great’ is “mega”. “Mega-Faith.”
1. Everything was wrong with that woman in Canaanite-Jewish relations: Wrong gender, wrong religion, wrong nationality. But she still spoke up for her convictions because she believed that Jesus Christ could heal her daughter. Sometimes, the voices that you are “wrong” come from within. The lesson is: Healing: Don't Take "No" For An Answer.
e.g. Here’s a testimony from Janice B., from Nevada, that I read as part of my on-going education in jail ministry---
As I attended my first Conference, I found all the “old voices” had come back to haunt me—“you’re not good enough, smart enough, and what makes you think you have anything of importance to say?” The thoughts of fight or fight arose within me and being a runner by nature, I have to laugh, I actually had the thought, okay, just run! But God had done His job. My assigned seat was in the front row, and as I looked back at the doors, I knew that if I ran, I would never get out alive, or worse yet, I would be noticed! So, I hung on to my seat and waited. Al-Anon has taught me not to leave before the miracle!
As I reached into my Al-Anon “tool bag” and “leaned into the moment,” the old voices dissipated, and I was able to open my heart and let in the love of the program.
Realizing my spiritual potential comes only when I step out- side my comfort zone and trust. If I just trust that God has my best interest in hand, accept those old voices as the voices that held me back from realizing my spiritual potential, and gently let them go, I can allow the new voices to guide me forward continuing the search for my spiritual potential.
In our Gospel text today, the woman allowed nothing to suffocate her faith. Her love for her daughter overcame the fear of Jewish-Canaanite problems. She had within her the courage and boldness which nourished and strengthened her faith. St. Teresa Avila said, “To have courage for whatever comes in life — everything lies in that.”
2. A second lesson is don’t take things personally. We are bit-players in other people’s dramas. To test her, Jesus called her a puppy, the woman was not put off in the least. And she answers, "Please, Lord, for even the dogs eat the scraps that fall from the table of their masters.”
Speaking of puppies, I saw a picture of a dog and a cat looking out the window, waitin' by the door. The caption has the dog saying: “The Master’s home, Yay!” The cat is saying, “You’re late, slave.”
In effect, the woman was able to use this slogan as a tool after she was called a puppy: “Take what you like and leave the rest,” Or, in the country they say, “Eat the hay and spit out the sticks.”
Charity has no rigid requirements; it does not expect, and even less pretend, that others should adapt themselves to it, but it is always ready to accommodate itself to the neighbor.
God adapted Himself to us when He became man; yet, we do not know how to come down from the little pedestal of our personality to adapt ourselves to the mentalities, preferences, and needs of our brethren.
3). Lastly, the woman stood up--
I had a chuckle over the story of a guy who rushed down to the local supermarket on a Saturday afternoon to pick up a few snack items. The big game was going to be on, so he was having a few friends over to watch it. The store was loaded with shoppers and as he headed for the six item express lane, the only one that didn’t have a long line, a woman completely ignoring the overhead sign slipped into the check-out line just in front of him pushing a cart piled high with groceries.
He was quietly fuming at what he knew would be a lengthy delay. Much to his delight, however, the elderly cashier at the express land motioned for the woman to come forward. The cashier looked into the overflowing cart and asked ever so sweetly, “So Dearie, which six items would you like to buy?”