Living the Gospel – August 16, 2020

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Sometimes I wonder if the HUMAN Jesus knew everything that was going to happen in His life. Or did some of the situations just occur and become opportunities for Him to teach, heal, etc.

Today’s Gospel has Jesus and His disciples traveling in heavy Gentile territory—the cities of Tyre and Sidon (today’s Lebanon). This is the very area that Jesus told his disciples to avoid when He sent them on mission just a few passages ago.

He is approached by a Gentile, a Canaanite woman as He walks—not an oddity considering this is her land, but an oddity that this was a Gentile, a Gentile approaching a Jew AND a woman approaching a man! The REAL oddity, though is that this Gentile woman addressed Him with the Jewish messianic titles “Lord” and “Son of David, have mercy on me!”

Jesus behavior is NOT that of the Jesus we know! Silence. Avoidance. So the disciples think: He’s as annoyed as we are! This pesky woman! Shall we send her away?”

Jesus doesn’t exactly answer his disciples either. He ignores them. “I’ve come for the lost sheep of Israel.” Who is He speaking to? Himself? the disciples? the woman? Is His silence testing the woman’s faith? One source said it is almost like Jesus doesn’t know what to do! Jesus! Testing? Debating?

When He does come out of His reverie, He insults the woman! But she jumps right back to Him with an almost humorous reply: “Even the dogs get the scraps!” She does not give up and Jesus acknowledges her faith and the cure is wrought.

Back to the beginning—Did Jesus know this woman would come with her request as He traveled the area? Or was it a sudden, unexpected chance to teach, to acknowledge the faith of a Gentile? What lessons can we learn from the encounter?

  • Approach our Lord always with humility. “Lord have mercy”. “Lord, I need you.”
  • Persistence in prayer—even when Jesus is silent and we may feel abandoned—faith that He is there for us listening—maybe testing our faith and perseverance.
  • That Jesus’ love and mercy are for ALL.
  • That intercessory prayer is important. We see it on many occasions in Scripture and we see it here once again.
  • Perhaps most importantly, we must give our request over to Jesus to be answered in the way that He sees fit—which might not be exactly as we would have liked. But we need to have the faith that “Jesus has ‘got this!’”

Linda Caminiti