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Matthew 15:21-28

The Word of God

Jesus went away to the district of Tyre and Sidon. Just then 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 she 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.

Matthew 15:21-28
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • The gospel suggests that membership of God’s people will be measured not by birth or circumcision but by a living faith in Jesus as Lord.
    • A story like this is an occasion for us to look at our own attitudes to people of other races, ethnic groups and nationalities, those who are socially disadvantaged, or in anyway different. Does our parish community go out of its way to provide a welcome for the ‘outsider’? These are very real questions for today. What comes to mind for me as I pray today.
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • This gospel tells the story of the need for total trust and confidence. Jesus really does care for us, in spite of indications to the contrary. Also the need for us to persist in prayer. Prayer helps us to be in harmony with Gods will for us with brings us peace and security.
    • In God’s eyes there are no ‘dogs’. The food on the Master’s table, the Lord’s Word and his love and not just the ‘crumbs’, is for all without exception. As I pray now is there someone coming to mind who might feel excluded from the Masters table?
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • 'Lord,’ she said ‘help me.’... Then Jesus answered her, ‘Woman, you have great faith. Let your wish be granted.’ The Gospel surprises us by proposing as our model a pagan woman. Jesus showers praise on her faith, even though we would have said she, a pagan, did not have any. God’s heart is much bigger than ours, he sees good where we see none. Jesus, make my heart like unto yours.
    • Lord, help me. I stay with this simple yet profound prayer, letting my cry come to God as I ask for what I need from him, for me and for my loved ones. I ask for a faith similar to the woman from Canaan in its reckless trust.
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • Usually it is Jesus who shocks us, but here a poor woman, not a Jew, with no social standing, shocks Jesus into an awareness of his wider mission. Do I allow the pressing needs of others to reveal to me my mission? Or do I back off and ‘not answer at all’?
    • This encounter also teaches us something about prayer: this unnamed woman has a pressing need; she shouts until Jesus listens. She stands her ground and won’t back off. But she also has great faith, and is humble.
    • How honest are my conversations with God? Do I say what I really think? Do I pray for others? Can I wrestle with the Lord and refuse to take no for an answer?
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • This is not the first biblical figure to argue with the Lord: Genesis and Exodus tell of times when Abraham and Moses gave out to God. This woman is different from the scribes who often tried to trap Jesus with arguments. She is begging for her daughter. There is something teasing and humorous about Jesus' first reply to her. He enjoyed that Semitic style of thrust and counter. His first response is what we often experience in prayer: no give. But a mother seeking health for her child is not easily deterred, and Jesus rewards her persistence -- I imagine him smiling as he blesses her.
    • Lord I want to remember this. When I want something badly, I will keep after you and if necessary give out to you.
    • We admire the mother or father who really fights for their child. They won't take no for an answer if their child is being bullied or treated unjustly in any way, they will fight for the best medical treatment for their sick child. The woman in the gospel is like that. She has a sick child and really wants healing. Who would not want the same? 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.
    • There are many ways to ‘hear' words. They can be just sound, external meaning, like giving information or directions. The word of God is more like the word of a friend, spoken to the mind and to the heart. Or it is like the words of a caring parent giving advice or directions out of love. The Word of God gives meaning to life and is spoken always in love. Prayer is giving time to hearing this word on the deepest levels of our heart.
    • ‘Dogs' was a name for the Gentiles - and in this story the woman plays on its meaning to get Jesus to feed the dogs and, in this way, care for her. Maybe this is a ‘change moment' for Jesus when he realises through this poor woman that he is sent not only to his own lost ones, but that his mission is for the whole world.