Don't get upset with your imperfections. Surrender to the Power of God's Love, which is greater than our weakness. ~St. Francis De Sales
(Gospel Text: Mt 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.
We often look at this passage and commend this woman’s tenacity in seeking a healing for her daughter. But look again, and you may see signs that Jesus was being just as tenacious and for a different reason.
Just look at the way Jesus dealt with her. Everything he did here seems to run directly counter to his typical way of dealing with people. First he ignored the woman. Then he let ethnic differences keep him from showing her any mercy. He even compared her to a dog! This is so unlike the Jesus we have come to see in the first fourteen chapters of Matthew’s Gospel. So he must be up to something here.
What is Jesus doing? He is leading this woman on, drawing out the faith that he knows she has in her heart. He is helping her proclaim that faith more boldly not for her sake alone but also for his disciples’ sake. He wanted them to see that everyone, even a pagan woman, can believe in him. He wanted them to see that everyone is worthy of a full and healed life. So Jesus turned everything upside down so that he could teach his disciples and strengthen this woman’s faith.
What lengths do you think Jesus will go to in order to bring you closer to him?
If some unexpected things are going on in your life right now or if you are experiencing a few bumps in the road—or even a complete roadblock—try to look a little more closely. It’s quite possible you’ll find Jesus there, calling out a deeper faith and offering you a stronger experience of his love.
Sometimes it feels as if God isn’t answering our prayer. Sometimes it feels as if he’s not even interested in us.
But that’s just not true. God is determined to deepen our faith, and there are times when he may use some unorthodox strategies to do it. So whatever you are experiencing right now, don’t give up! Trust that your heavenly Father is with you, walking with you through the entire process.