Meditation is an ideal way to pray. Using God's word (Lectio Divina) allows me to hear, listen and reflect on what the Lord wants to say to me - to one of his disciples - just like He did two thousand years ago.
The best time to reflect is at the beginning of the day and for at least 15 to 30 minutes.
Prior to going to sleep, read the Mass readings for the next day and then, in the morning, reflect on the Meditation offered on this website.
I hope these daily meditations allow you to know, love and imitate the Lord in a more meaningful way.
God bless you!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Mt 15:21-28 Acknowledging and Apologizing

Mt 15:21-28  Acknowledging and Apologizing
(Click here for readings)
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! ...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. 
I love this reading!  It highlights something long ago forgotten:  faith overcomes hurt feelings; truth trumps false compassion.  If someone spoke like the Lord today…they would be crucified!  Crucify Him!  Crucify Him!  Crucify Him!  If this incident had been videotaped…oh my goodness!  What would we say about Jesus?  How dare you speak to a woman like that!  You called her a dog???  You are such a fake!  You are a phony baloney!  You hypocrite!  Now I know what you are really made of!  Now I have seen the real side of you!”
In the Lord’s case we would be wrong in condemning him, just like we were wrong two thousand years ago.  In her case we would be right in justifying her, just like He did, two thousand years ago, in recognizing her tremendous faith. 
I have heard some theologians explain this passage away by saying the Lord had a bad day, or that he was only human.  Or that the Lord did not understand that He needed to save non-Jews.  How horribly ridiculous!  Why can’t we admit the truth? That is, sometimes the truth is painful because our pride gets hurt; and our pride hurts because it is skin deep. 
If someone today spoke like Jesus yesterday they would be crucified, as He was two thousand years ago.  But if someone today spoke like the Canaanite woman of long ago, then they would be glorified, as she was two thousand years ago.  And that’s the problem:  no one speaks like her today!  The problem isn’t with people speaking like the Lord.  The problem is with people responding like the woman.  In other words, very few people have that (her) kind of faith!
This woman’s faith was the size of a mustard seed.  And for a mustard seed to grow, it needs to be fertilized.  And we know what fertilizer is made from:   poop that is thrown at us! 
The Lord grew in stature every time his enemies swung mud at him.  Faith grows in adversity, like it or not.  And most of us don’t like it!  But it’s true:  faith overcomes hurt feelings and truth trumps false compassion.  We love the Lord because, while his foes swung at him, he didn’t swing back.  He didn’t act like those we know.
The man at the window of Chic-Fil-A, and at the center of a growing storm, acknowledges he made a mistake.  Just recently, he apologized for his actions.  The problem with his apology is that it wasn’t immediate.  It was done long after he left the restaurant, posted his video, received a ton of negative press and lost his job.  There is nothing wrong with apologizing.  But do it quickly!  Accept your mistakes.  The sincere of heart do it quickly, immediately.  They react before others can. 
The problem with “Rachael”, the young lady working at Chic-Fil-A, is that she didn’t want to meet with her bully immediately.  I read that she needed some time.  That’s unfortunate.  Like I said before, only she could turn her story into a Gospel passage.
What makes Christ’s acknowledgement (of the Canaanite woman’s response) so beautiful is that it was done immediately, before any reactions, before any commentators, before anyone had a chance to run with the story.  This is what made his comments sincere.  This is how we know he was not insulting this woman; rather, He was putting her to the test. This is why Saint Matthew kept the story alive.  And what makes the Canaanite woman’s faith so beautiful is her immediate, unwavering response of faith.  Her faith, in the Lord, would not be shaken, regardless of what He called her.
How strong is your faith?  What gets in the way of our faith?  Answer:  our feelings.  We place feelings over faith; sentimentalisms over facts.  The Lord never told a sinner, like we do: “Don’t worry about it”, or “So what?”, or “Who cares”.  He told them the truth; He told them “Sin no more” and then immediately forgave them.  He didn’t accept everyone; He loved everyone - sincerely, not superficially - by the skin off his back. 
As a young man, I once felt offended by what a priest told me.  I would not feel insulted by what a priest told me today, unless it was contrary to the teachings of the Church!  If a priest tells me that I am a sinner, do I need to remind him that he is one too?  If he tells me that what I did was awful, do I need to remind him of the awful things that priests have done?  It’s all pride and very little faith.
Christ challenges each and every one of us.  Priestly vows are just as difficult to live as spousal vows.  But as hard as they are, they make us who we are.  And we know what Christ wants for us is exactly what he was looking for from the Canaanite woman:  an increase in unconditional faith and love.


  1. I love this passage from Matthew, too. One of my favorites.

    Yeah, finally good news....Even though delayed, I'm very glad the C-f-A bully apologized to "Rachael." I'm not at all surprised the girl wouldn't want to meet the guy immediately. I'd probably do the same thing out of embarassment and fear.

    I couldn't help but giggle at the fertilizer "poop" comment. LOL!!! It's been a long while since I've experienced a full day of humor and from every direction. I've really missed it. I thank God on these days when I can laugh at things and not take life so seriously. (A rarity for me. I get way too sentimental and feelings focused...Uh)

    Priestly vows, spousal vows, and good old what I call "singleness vows" are a challenge for all of us. I definitely need to step up to the plate and be more like the Canaanite woman. Difficult when life gets tough.

    Blessings & Peace,


  2. Well I see Mrs Jennifer is having a cheerful and enjoyable Wednesday

    U ! are totally right!! we all need to be more like the Canaanite woman.

  3. Well, maybe I'm just stupid, stupid, stupid, but this scripture reading is one I've never understood and I still don't get it. Jesus was calling her a dog? Why would he do that?

    As for Rachael, she's like me. Some women need to take time before we react because we need to really think before we say anything at all. I imagine she was all over the place with emotions; sad, angry, tearful, fearful, embarrassed, wished she had said this or that, etc. Haven't you put your foot in your mouth by reacting too quickly? Yes, I agree that feelings get in the way, but many of us need time to sort through our feelings to make sure we react most appropriately and many women can't do that in five minutes or even five hours. I'm not trying to single out women, this is just my experience in my circle of friends. (My husband will never understand this about me!) Apparently the woman in the scripture could, thankfully, but she was in a desperate situation! But the important thing about Rachael is that she did indeed come forward publicly and say "I forgive him." Why isn't that enough? Don't you think she needed some time to prepare for the media storm she knew she would face. I won't be surprised if the media smears her now for some dumb reason because God knows, they'll look for some reason to do so. This man screwed up big time and I personally think a little suffering on his part (maybe not losing his job) is not too little of a penance for his actions. For crying out loud, this wasn't a 16 year old boy who may be reacting on emotions or shall I say hormones that he doesn't know what to do with. Perhaps I'm being judgmental? Not trying to be.......

    1. I forgive him is great. Don't get me wrong, what I am saying is not an easy thing to do. But it would have been even more beautiful. What is there to prepare for? Just be innocent, pure, honest. No calculating permitted. Just be authentic.

    2. Who are we going to listen to? The devil on our left shoulder or the angel on our right? Being authentic is great! But sometimes that wrong shoulder wins the tug-of-war as is the case with Adam Smith. I hardly believe he is an evil person. I am a deeply compassionate person 95% of the time, but I often fail in the heat of the moment, lose the battle between good and evil. I'm a sinner. For some of us humans, to be most Christ like, we need to count to 10, breathe a little and then react so we don't have to apologize for and confess our bad behavior......

  4. I can understand why Rachael didn't want to meet with the man shortly after this all happened. She had been berated AT WORK by a man almost twice her age. She held her composure after personal attacks. I would've told the guy to go pound sand. (Sorry, I still have a lot of work to do to be more Christ-like.) She stayed extremely professional and took the high-road as he was saying horrible things to her. Then supposedly a few hours later he comes back to the store to talk to her and she's supposed to meet with him? She's probably thinking this maniac is going to go off on her and start making personal attacks again at her place of employment. Perhaps its the job she needs to make ends meet, she can't afford to lose this job. Who wants to take a beating twice?

    After watching his "apology", it didn't seem sincere to me.


    1. I agree with you Craig. The only thing is that a Christian helps someone to be more sincere, even if they are not ready to be sincere. How? By being even more sincere in their forgiving than those in their apologizing.
      What I am saying is not easy...ok?? I know! Believe me! It would have been tough for me! But the fact that we are not involved in this incident should help us (I hope) to see things clearer for the day we will be challenged. :)

    2. Father
      I understand and you make very good points. I know that I can learn from this situation, whether I'm the one apologizing or the one forgiving.

  5. I too never thought Jesus was being mean to the woman, I thought He was testing her for her benefit and the benefit of others. To teach her and the others observing that not all things come easy, you will often have to persevere in the face of adversity to achieve a good goal, and that adversity can come from an unexpected place.

  6. I love your title. How many times I wish I would not have said or did something that I later regret. But that is what a 'sinner' is - acknowledging and apologizing.


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