In an ironic twist, a Canaanite woman—a pagan outsider—acclaims and calls Jesus “Lord/Sir” and “Son of David.” Even by just these designations, she is already manifesting her faith in Jesus as Israel’s Messiah. It is this nameless woman—one who is not counted and is considered an enemy—who shows faith in Jesus while the Jewish leaders reject him. Three times she is rebuffed by Jesus: first, by his silence; second, by insisting that his mission is only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel; and third, by harshly referring to her as belonging to the “dogs”—the Gentiles. But the Canaanite woman remains persistent in her supplication. In the end, the initial reluctance of Jesus to act and the limitation that he mentions about his mission are overcome by her resolute persistence and great faith.
Gospel • MATTHEW 15:21-28
At that time Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. And behold, a Canaanite woman of that district came and called out, “Have pity on me, Lord, Son of David! My daughter is tormented by a demon.” But he did not say a word in answer to her. His disciples came and asked him, “Send her away, for she keeps calling out after us.” He said in reply, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” But the woman came and did him homage, saying, “Lord, help me.” He said in reply, “It is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs.” She said, “Please, Lord, for even the dogs eat the scraps that fall from the table of their masters.” Then Jesus said to her in reply, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.” And her daughter was healed from that hour.
SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord 2019,” ST. PAULS, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 632-895-9701; Fax 632-895-7328; E-mail: [email protected]; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.