August 20th

August 20th

        A Christian is a member of the Kingdom of God. God’s Kingdom is already present here, but not yet fully revealed. For that reason, even though we are “at home here,” our souls long for a more intimate experience of God. In the story of the Canaanite woman of the Gospel today, we are invited to reflect on the experience of being at home in the world, which really is not our true home. We may reflect on how our ancestors left another continent, were aliens here, and found a way to make this country their home. How can we facilitate this to others looking to our country for hope and liberty?            
     On a spiritual level, the Gospel story also calls us to reflect on our own faith. The woman’s request is out of desperation. Like many people today, she came to God after she exhausted all other means of healing for her daughter. She says, “My daughter is severely demon possessed. Have mercy!” How often have we raised our voices to God in desperation only to find that God is very quiet?            
     Jesus did not respond to the woman’s plea for help. Yet, she did not withdraw, but only called out even louder. Then, the Apostles, misreading our Lord’s silence ask Him to do something truly cold, “Send her away. She keeps calling out to us!” Then to show to everyone the depth of the woman’s faith, Jesus answers, “I was sent only for the Jews.”            
     Those cold words were spoken for a reason. “In this you rejoice, although now for a little while you may have to suffer through various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith, which is more precious than Gold that is perishable even though tested by fire, may prove to be for praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:6-7.) He already knew her deep faith.            
     Throughout this brutal test of her faith, the Canaanite woman becomes a hero of prayer for all of us. She does not withdraw in shame or anger, but calls out to Jesus knowing that He will help her. That is why He came. Jesus Christ came to save all of humanity. The woman truly has deep faith.            
     Faith comes from humility. People who are not humble, have no faith. The Canaanite woman accepts as true each statement of Jesus. “Even the puppies eat the scraps that fall from their master’s table!” she responds.            
     Finally comes the resolution we all want to hear. Jesus says with a great smile, “Woman. Great is your faith! Your daughter is healed!” Jesus does not need to approach the daughter because nothing is greater than a mother’s faith.