The Bible: The Power of Rebirth

The Canaanite Woman’s Faith

The Canaanite Woman’s Faith

Reflection on the Gospel of the Wednesday
In The Eighteenth Week Of Ordinary Time


Matthew 15: 21-28

Dear family in Christ we have the sermon on the Mount where Jesus tells us to walk the extra mile along with our friends or family to be blessed and to become more like our Heavenly Father in charity (=love). Yet in todays gospel we see that He is not willing to help the Cannanite woman. Jesus calls her a dog and the disciples no doubt approved.

In the previous chapter Jesus fed bread to 5,000 people. Immediately following this story he will do something similar, feeding bread to 4,000 people. Jesus is the bread of life. His ministry is a kind of an extended heavenly feeding. This woman is asking for a place at the table, but Jesus, chillingly, relegates her to the floor of life. “It’s not right to toss perfectly good bread meant to feed children to dogs.”

For the Jews all Gentiles were outcasts and therefore Dogs – and in this story the woman plays on its meaning to get Jesus to feed the dogs and, in this way, care for her. She has a sick child and really wants healing for it. Who would not want the same? Jesus is less than eager to help this woman, explaining that his mission is first to the house of Israel. However, Jesus is the one who has left Jewish territory and invaded this woman’s world. Furthermore, this Canaanite woman — an unclean, outsider — demonstrates that she has a better grasp of Jesus’ identity than the hand-selected disciples do at this point in the narrative. Jesus’ encounter with the Canaanite woman unsettles boundaries and calls into question definitions of clean and unclean. She almost forces Jesus into curing her little daughter. Her persistence is an effect of her faith, and because of her faith Jesus cures her child. Jesus then expresses what appears to be surprise, “Woman, you have great faith! You’re right, and so your request is granted.” And it was. The daughter was released from her demon at that very moment.

Dear family of fellow servants for Christ, many a times we forget that we have to serve all and love all. As Christians we are not called to only love and serve those who are baptized but to serve all humanity who is made in the image and likeness of God. Yet we fail to see Christ in all. With an attitude of superiority we look down at times on those who were not privileged as us to know Jesus and belong to His Church, His bride. Its time we see where our lack of Christian charity has led us too. We in humility and love need to introduce Jesus to them. Let our actions more than our words give them the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Lord, help me to introduce You as the Bread of life to All the Canaanite men and women in my life. Amen.

Another Reflection on Today’s Gospel – Rozario Pereira

Crumbs that fall from their masters’ table..

Compare The Canaanite woman’s faith from todays scripture reading to Our own Faith today. We must have read/heard this story numerous times but have we been able to develop the same level of faith as the Canaanite woman? Jesus praised her for her great faith and fulfilled her wish, desire and cry. She was an outsider, but she dared to come into the Lord’s presence, she knew her limits, but she crossed everything and continued in pray, words, action and in knowledge. She shouted, she knelt, she cried out loud “Lord, help me.” Because she convicted beyond doubt of Jesus’ identity. By her action she shows us all what is persistent faith based on facts and right understanding.

  • She recognized Jesus as Son of David (prayer and words),
  • She called Him Lord (action),
  • She begged mercy (knowledge that the saviour was for all humanity).

Let us come into the presence of the Lord with faith like this woman, asking the right and proper things, and therefore rightly experiencing healing for us ourselves and our loved once. Let us ask for His help/mercy. Pray and ask Jesus to bless the those who are distant from Him, by visiting them as He did the Syrophoenician woman remembering even the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table are enough.

Holy Spirit teach us to pray, teach us to intercede, help us in our faith

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