Reflections - August 20, 2017

“O woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.” 
Mt. 15:28.
 
Today the Gospel presents us with Jesus’ faith on a Canaanite mother, distressed by the illness of her daughter.
 
It is important to emphasize in this story the plea of the mother, a Canaanite, a foreigner, who hears strong words from Jesus’ lips:  “I was sent only to the lost sheep….of Israel”.  One must reflect on the context in which this Gospel was written in order to understand it.
 
In the Old Testament the name Canaanite was designated to the pagans who did not belong to the chosen people of Israel.  Also the word “dog” was used
in a derogatory way for foreigners who did not share the faith in the one true God.
 
However Jesus welcomes this woman and with this miracle teaches us His unconditional and universal love for all races and peoples.  All He asks is Faith.
 
An example that we can draw from this woman for our own Christian life is her faith in the face of obstacles that presented themselves to her.  She did not become discouraged, but insisted as Ephesians says:  “With all prayer and supplication be constant, pray at every opportunity”.  Eph 6:18.  This consistency of undaunted prayer reached Jesus’ heart and He exclaimed:  “O woman, great is your faith!”  It occurs to me to ask this question:  Can the Lord say the same about our faith?
 
Another lesson is the sensitivity of that woman towards the needs of her neighbor.  Faith sometimes makes us be detached and not open our eyes to see the needs of others.  Some would say:  It was her daughter.  Yes, but sometimes that lack of faith makes us selfish and can blind us to the needs of others – even those that are close to us.
 
I would not like to finish without inviting you this week to reflect on the attitude of spiritual poverty of this Canaanite mother, “in need of the Lord’s mercy”.  Perhaps this woman had heard these words about faith from Christ:  “Ask and receive….seek and find….knock and the door shall be opened”.  In that beautiful afternoon, which, by the way, I don’t know why it occurs to me that it was in the “afternoon”, “the poverty of a soul in need and the unconditional love of the Heart of Jesus, rich in mercy, were found.  There the Canaanite woman found not only the miracle for her daughter, but her salvation, “O woman, great is your faith!”