Reflection on Scripture Twentieth Sunday Gospel A Faith of a foreigner

By 10:40 AM

 Twentieth Sunday Gospel A

At that time, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon.

· Tyre and Sidon are cities on the Mediterranean Sea in non-Jewish or pagan territory.

· Jesus withdrew to provide rest for himself and the disciples.

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.”  

· Being a Canaanite woman indicates that she is non-Jewish.

· Jesus’ reputation as a healer has preceded him, even though he sought anonymity.

But Jesus did not say a word in answer to her.  

· Both Jesus’ initial non-response and his later apparent tone when he addresses her seems out of character.

Jesus’ disciples came and asked him, “Send her away, for she keeps calling out after us.” 

· The disciples’ remarks are probably more typical of how we may have handled the situation if we were there.

He said in reply, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” 

· Jesus first acknowledges his primary call from the Father is to the Israelites, the Chosen People.

But the woman came and did Jesus homage, saying, “Lord, help me.” 

· This gesture of homage is very significant. It says that she recognizes Jesus more than just a healer but a holy man close to God. She may have seen something in Jesus that the apostles had not grasped.

He said in reply, “It is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs.”  

· This sounds harsh coming from Jesus. But it is another way of saying that his first mission is to the Jews and not the Gentiles.

She said, “Please, Lord, for even the dogs eat the scraps that fall from the table of their masters.”  

· The woman doesn’t take offense. She is more concerned about her daughter than about her own feelings. She too acknowledges that in Jesus’ eyes the Jews are his primary concern. But she pleads with him to show mercy on her and her daughter. She is persistent and steadfast.

Then Jesus said to her in reply, “O woman, great is your faith!  Let it be done for you as you wish.”  And the woman’s daughter was healed from that hour.

· Jesus was stretching her, calling her to a deeper faith. He was not playing games with her nor putting her down. Instead, he was inviting her to a greater expectation.

· Her faith in Jesus’ mercy and love even towards one who was not worthy was what freed her daughter to experience the healing/deliverance.

· What application can you make in your personal life from your reflections?

· Where is Jesus stretching you when you come to him with your concerns?

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