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  • St. Francis - Volume 1 of The Pivotal Players

     
  • Today's Readings

  • Reflection

    "O woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish." This woman was an outsider. She was a Canaanite, not an Israelite, and as such she would have been considered ritually unclean. But she approached Jesus nonetheless and asked for his help. And Jesus used this opportunity to teach his disciples an important lesson.

    In the verses directly before today's passage, Jesus had told Peter that what defiles a person comes from the heart, not from ignoring external purity practices. Then, Jesus traveled with his disciples from Galilee to the region of Tyre and Sidon where they were much more likely to encounter someone considered to be unclean.

    At first it appeared that Jesus wasn't going to acknowledge the woman who begged for help. His comment, "It is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs," was a common comparison between Jews (the children) and Canaanites (the dogs). But, in fact, Jesus said this only to go right ahead and break this social code! He showed by his actions that it did not matter whether someone was Jewish or not, what mattered was the faith in a person's heart. And this woman proved to Jesus and the doubting disciples that she had great faith. How many others would have even approached Jesus to ask for his help? How many others would have persevered when he appeared unresponsive? By pausing in his response, and first mentioning the standard reply, Jesus gave this woman the opportunity to demonstrate her great faith. And then, he answered her request and praised her extraordinary faith. What a lesson for his prejudiced disciples! And what a lesson for us, both to persevere in faith, and never to judge others on mere appearances.