“A Canaanite woman came and called out to Jesus, ‘Have pity on me, Lord, Son of David!’ But Jesus did not say a word in answer to her. The Lord’s 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 Jesus 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, ‘O woman, great is your faith!’
I thought it appropriate to write down this Gospel passage. Although we meditated on this not too long ago, the Church considers it worthy to do so again and this time on a Sunday so that more can hear it.
Once in a while I will run into someone who thinks that the Gospels were fabricated. They think so because Jesus appears so perfect, too perfect, in them! Well, He is of course; He is God. But let us never forget that there are some pretty hard sayings from the Lord throughout scripture, sayings that could easily make us doubt. I often use the above scripture passage to make my point. It would have been so easy for the Apostles to simply have ignored this incident. How easy it could have been for the Apostles to change Christ’s words so that he didn’t appear so harsh! And yet, here it is. We have this incident in print!
Imagine for a moment this incident being published in the New York Times? Rather than Jesus, imagine for a moment the Holy Father having said this to some poor and desperate woman? Ah, the reactions! The scandal! The insults!
Pope John Paul II did not have a problem apologizing to the world on behalf of the Catholic Church for the mistakes of some of her past members. I think he had hoped that the mea culpa would have caught on throughout the world. But Turkey has not apologized to Armenia. The Jews have not apologized to the Palestinians. The British have not apologized to a host of nations from the Middle East, Asia and Africa. The Japanese have not apologized to China or Korea. Russia has not apologized to Eastern Europeans. The United States has not apologized to African Americans or the unborn.
I have never heard a politician compliment his opponent; answer a question, or that did not have the solution to a national problem (the solution being themselves!). Who would vote for a humble politician? Most likely everyone; which would end politics for good, and that’s a good thing for then we would start having statesmen and not politicians.
What is the quickest way to increase your faith? Make yourself small, smaller than a mustard seed, so that the seed of faith appears larger than life, your life! It’s not easy to do, that’s for sure. But it is the quickest way to empty oneself and allow the Lord to fill in the space.
The woman in today’s gospel is a remarkable woman. God loves to glorify his saints. He loves to place the spotlight on others. I believe He did so because he wanted us to know that it can be done. Really! You can make yourself small. You don’t need to have all the answers. You don’t need to always know what you are doing or what the outcome will be. You don’t need to have it all planned out. Things don’t always have to go your way. You don’t have to be so confident in yourself; so rational in your behavior; so rigid as rigor mortis!
Trust in God. Place your trust in God. We place our trust in sprouts, or spinach or turkey meat and get Salmonella poisoning! We place too much trust in others and in our own opinions.
No one has ever gotten sick from the Eucharist. No one has ever died from too much God.
Lord, you came into the world to be with us. You died on the Cross so that one day we could be with you. May we never doubt your amazing love for us! We ask this in your name. Amen.