Vocation Meditation - August 17
Jesus went away to the district of Tyre and Sidon. A Canaanite woman from that region came out, and started shouting, "Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is tormented by a demon." But he did not answer her at all.
And his disciples came and urged him, saying, "Send her away, for she keeps shouting after us." He answered, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel."
But the woman came and knelt before him saying, "Lord, help me." He answered, "It is not fair to take the children's food and throw it to the dogs." She said, "Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters' table." Then Jesus answered her, "Woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish." And her daughter was healed instantly.
Jesus' mission of salvation is universal. But first, salvation was for the Jews. While Jesus busied himself tending to save the lost sheep of the house of Israel, others, not in the fold who have heard of His great works of mercy, came to see Him to ask for healing. One of them was this woman, a mother.
In desperate need, she presented her case. Jesus' response was His one-line mission statement. That would have been enough to keep her at bay. Any Canaanite, she knew, is a Gentile. Unfazed, she did not declare defeat. She knew a mother's love for her child and her faith in God's mercy could stretch the boundary given her by Jesus. Humbled to be called like dogs around the children's table, she gained insight in Jesus' reply. With courage she found her way to express herself to claim her hope. She understood that even though the 'dogs' may only get the crumbs, they are close to the master's table. They have chances to receive anything from the Master. At His bidding, the Gentiles can have a share in the blessings of the Kingdom. With her great faith she hastened this moment of grace.
"Woman, great is your faith!"
What motivates me not to accept defeat when my prayers are not answered?
For the full Gospel reading for this Sunday, visit the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops site.