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AUGUST 4. Ord Time B. Wk 18. Wed. Mt.15 21-28

Jesus left Gennesaret and withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. Then out came a Canaanite woman from that district and started shouting, ‘Sir, Son of David, take pity on me. My daughter is tormented by a devil.’ But he answered her not a word. And his disciples went and pleaded with him. ‘Give her what she wants,’ they said ‘because she is shouting after us.’ He said in reply, ‘I was sent only to the lost sheep of the House of Israel.’ But the woman had come up and was kneeling at his feet. ‘Lord,’ she said ‘help me.’ He replied, ‘It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the house-dogs.’ She retorted, ‘Ah yes, sir; but even house-dogs can eat the scraps that fall from their master’s table.’ Then Jesus answered her, ‘Woman, you have great faith. Let your wish be granted.’ And from that moment her daughter was well again.


A central point in today’s Gospel is that the Canaanite woman was not presuming entitlement, in fact she was acknowledging she was not an Israelite; - but what she was seeking was mercy; - a request Jesus will always find hard to refuse, as this was why he became man; - in order to show mercy to sinners!


What is also obvious from the reading is she was very strong in both her faith and how she went about asking for mercy; - shouting out to Jesus; - “‘Sir, Son of David, take pity on me. My daughter is tormented by a devil’; - and the disciples pleaded with Jesus to respond to her request because of her determination and the disruption she was causing.


But Jesus did not respond; - even though she was kneeling in front of him; - but instead he roughly rejected her saying; - “It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the house-dogs.” Given she was seeking mercy and a cure for her daughter one can only wonder why Jesus did not respond in a more generous or merciful manner?


No doubt it was because he was aware of the depth of her faith, and that she was prepared to fight on behalf of her daughter, which is exactly what she did when she replied to Jesus with; - “Yes; - but even house-dogs can eat the scraps that fall from their master’s table.”


This reply clearly impressed Jesus who answered her; - “Woman, you have great faith. Let your wish be granted”, and from that moment her daughter was cured!


The lesson for us is that; - just because we are seeking God’s assistance for a worthy cause, we should not expect a prompt response! Obviously, there are multiple worthy causes for which God’s help is sought on a daily basis; - such as release from a terminal illness in a young person, or prayers for the growth of the Church; - and such prayers frequently go unanswered!


The reason for this is that what we are seeking is the satisfaction of our own desires; - rather than showing Faith and Trust in God’s wisdom and plans; - something we easily overlook.


What God wants from us is that we trust in his merciful love; - and accept his decision as to the response to our prayers. There would be no trust or faith were he to grant each and every request for a good cause; - and we need to understand this!


Christ did grant the Canaanite woman’s request; - and he will grant some of our requests; - but that decision is his; - not ours! What God wants from us is Faith and Trust in his love; - whether he grant our prayers or not!


Our duty is to submit to his will; - motivated by Faith and Love!

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