Sunday, August 17, 2014

Reflection: Matthew 15:4-23

Matthew 15:4-23 (20th Sunday in Ordinary Time) 

The Gospel for this Sunday is the story of the woman whose daughter was possessed by a demon. The mother approaches Jesus and asks him to heal her daughter. Her request was simple and respectful. However, Jesus ignored her! She was a woman and a Canaanite. This was a segment of the population that were seen by the Jews as the “lowest of the low.” Thus, it was expected that Jesus as a Jew should not even speak to her.

The Gospel says that Jesus did not even say a word to her. Despite Jesus’ lack of response, the woman refused to leave. She was determined to get help for her daughter—even if she had to beg! Where was the caring, healing Jesus that is portrayed in so many other Gospel stories? Jesus’ disciples tried to send her away but she continued to persist. She respectfully spoke to Jesus again and simply said: “Lord, help me.” Jesus responded to her plea and healed her daughter!

I would guess that in some way we all can identify with the Canaanite woman. Can you remember a time in your life when you also desperately needed some kind of response from Jesus? Perhaps you were desperate and afraid. Or it may have been a time when you simply needed to know that Jesus was with you? In difficult times, we need to know that we are not alone. The gift this woman has to give us is her example of persistence---persistent faith!! Today, let us ask the Canaanite woman to share some of her “persistent faith” with us. May we truly believe and trust that Jesus also will respond to our cries!

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