A Daily Gospel Reflection
by Father Jim Livingstone
Friday, August 14, 2020
“Jesus then withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. And a Canaanite woman from those parts came to meet him crying, ‘Son of David! Have pity on me; my daughter is tormented by a devil.’ But he said not a word in reply. His disciples came and urged him: ‘Send her away! See how she comes shouting after us.’ Jesus replied, ‘I was sent to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, and to them alone.’ But the woman came and fell at his feet and cried, ‘Help me, sir.’ Jesus replied, ‘It is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.’ ‘True, sir,’ she answered, and yet the dogs eat the scraps that fall from their master’s table.’ Hearing this Jesus replied, ‘What faith you have! Let it be as you wish!’ And from that moment her daughter was restored to health.”
Meditation” Do you ever feel put-off or ignored by Jesus?
This passage of scripture describes the only occasion in which Jesus ministered outside of Jewish territory. Tyre and Sidon were north of Israel and still exist today in modern Lebanon. A Gentile woman, a foreigner, not a member of the Jewish people , puts Jesus on the spot when she pleaded for his help. At first he ignores her and his disciples are embarrassed. Jesus does this to test and awaken her faith. The Jews often referred to Gentiles as unclean dogs because they did not follow God’s law and were excluded from God’s covenant and favor. For the Greeks the dog was a symbol of dishonor and used to describe a shameless woman. Jesus tested the woman’s faith to see if she was sincere in her plea. Her immediate response “even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table” showed her faith in the Lord Jesus.
No one who ever sought Jesus with earnest faith, whether Jew or Gentile, was refused his help. Do you seek the Lord Jesus with expectant faith?