Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. Now a Canaanite woman came from those borders and began to cry out, «Lord, Son of David, have pity on me! My daughter is tormented by a demon». But Jesus did not answer her, not even a word. So his disciples approached him and said, «Send her away: see how she is shouting after us». Then Jesus said to her, «I was sent only to the lost sheep of the nation of Israel».
But the woman was already kneeling before Jesus and said, «Sir, help me!». Jesus answered, «It is not right to take the bread from the children and throw it to the little dogs». The woman replied, «It is true, sir, but even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their master's table». Then Jesus said, «Woman, how great is your faith! Let it be as you wish». And her daughter was healed at that moment.
What a wonderful encounter! Both coming out from one region to the other, and at the borders. These place and time are important to understand the depth and the consequence of this encounter. For us particularly today, with two explosions in the heart of the capital of the same county, which is in trouble, does speak a volume of their suffering and the need of our support and compassion.
The cry of this poor lady, and the holy silence of the Lord, particularly his clod response may disturb the contemporary world, which is still seeking an immediate response. Why this persistent cry which is responded with a cold answer? We don’t have a clear answer. It’s quite normal that even in this scientific world that we may not have all the answers for our just questions. Anyway, why should we have answers to all our questions? There is always a place for mysteries. Shouldn’t we have patience to understand the plan of God?
Jesus is affirming the quality and the depth of her faith. Faith is not a fruit of external events, rather our capacity to internalize the external events, which are pure spiritual gifts. Can these explosions be an event to reveal a divine plan? Who knows? We should imitate the faith of this lady and in this tempting moment, we have to express the depth of our faith; still holding on to the Lord, like Job. By our faith we should affirm to the world that God is still alive in this world and in our personal life.
Action of the day: Put your trust in the Lord.
«Woman, how great is your faith!»
Fr. Jordi CASTELLET i Sala
(Sant Hipòlit de Voltregà, Barcelona, Spain)
Today, we often hear the expression “faith has been lost”, and the same people who ask our communities the baptism of their children or the catechesis for their infants or the sacrament of marriage, say it. These words depict the world in a negative way while trying to convince us bygone times were better and that we are now at the end of an stage where there is nothing left for us to say or to do. Evidently, these are basically young people who, in its majority, watch rather sadly how the world has changed from their parents' times, who used to live perhaps a more popular faith, which they have not known how to adapt to. This experience leaves them unsatisfied and without any capacity of reaction when, in fact, they might find themselves at the gates of a new stage they could very well take advantage of.
This passage of the Gospel draws the attention to that Canaanite mother that demands grace for her daughter by recognizing in Jesus the Son of David: «Lord, Son of David, have pity on me! My daughter is tormented by a demon» (Mt 15:22). The Master is surprised: «Woman, how great is your faith!” and He can do nothing but to act in favour of those persons: «Let it be as you wish» (Mt 15:28), although this does not seem to fall within his schedule. However, God's grace is manifested in human realities.
Faith is not a privilege of a few, nor is it the property of those who thing they are so good or of those who have ever been good, and have this social or ecclesial label. God's action precedes any Church's action and the Holy Spirit is already acting upon persons we would have never suspected could bring us a message from God, a request in favour of the needy. St. Leo says: «My beloved, the virtue and wisdom of Christian faith are our love of God and of our neighbour: it does not miss any obligation to any pious works procuring to render God worship due to him and to help our brethren».