17 August 2008


20TH Sunday in Ordinary Time
Mt 15:21-28

Our gospel this Sunday is amusing and amazing. A Caananite woman pleaded with Jesus, a male Jew, and got what she wanted: the cure of her daughter who was greatly tormented by a demon (most probably, the child was crazy).

In any debate, Jesus was never defeated. We often hear Him arguing with the scribes and the Pharisees because of their pride and self-righteousness. But no matter what they hurled against Jesus, Jesus always won. No one could defeat Him. No one. Except this woman. She was the only person in the Gospels who had the wit to outwit Jesus.

There are four reasons why reasons why her story with Jesus is both amusing and amazing.

First, in a patriarchal society, like that of the Jews’, we witness the guts this woman had to face Jesus at close range and bargained with Him. It could be more acceptable if a fellow male approached Jesus and acted as an intermediary between Him and the woman.

Second, this woman was a foreigner. Jesus stressed that fact when He said that His mission was only for the lost sheep of the House of Israel. Indeed, this woman looked Jesus straight to His face at close range, but she seemed to be talking to a wall. Was it not that, at first, Jesus did not even give her at damn? He gave her the cold shoulder treatment. Irked by the scene she was making, the disciples had to plead with Jesus to give her a hearing. Before that, Jesus was simply deaf to her shouting and blind to her pressing presence.

Third, this woman was not onion-skinned. All the obstacles were not obstacle to her, if only to obtain her request. She was not onion-skinned not because she was arrogant but because she was humble. She swallowed her pride and took what seemed to be an insult straight from Jesus Himself: “It is unfair to take the children’s food and throw it to the house-dogs.” This woman proved that humility is not weakness but strength: “Ah yes, Sir; but even house-dogs can eat the scrpas that fall from their master’s table.”

And the fourth: for all the trouble and humiliation she went through, what this woman was asking for was not even for her self, but for her daughter. Usually commentaries on this gospel episode say that it was faith that gave this woman what she wanted. That is right. Jesus Himself affirmed thus, “Woman, you have great faith. Let your wish be granted.” But what gave her faith the strength to conquer oppressive social structures and endure all the insults that her concern entailed? Love. Indeed faith has no meaning whatsoever if it has no love. When Jesus praised this woman’s faith at the end of the gospel, it is safe to say that He did so because her faith had love.

Jesus conceded defeat and yielded to this woman’s request. How could He not? She had the kind of faith that loved and now had found her only hope: Jesus.

Are you asking anything from Jesus? Do you have great faith in Him? If you do, good for you. But does your faith have love?


At 11:16 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lord Jesus, we know that You listen to our prayers. We believe You answer all our prayers to the way we hoped for. It takes only sometime because You said, waiting is always a part of your answer.

Teach us to be humble at heart and mind. When humility is in one's heart, the attitude towards others is always a reflection.
Thank you for Your generosity and compassion Lord, to all of us irregardless of race. Forthat we are very grateful. Help us build our faith in You everyday.
Amen. -rory

At 9:17 PM , Anonymous Bubut said...

give us the faith and love that the woman has in the scripture. may we love you more even if our prayers are not answered

God bless po...

At 2:59 PM , Blogger Catherine said...

Hi! Fr.Bob your reflection was really good and inspiring. I hope taht your alright in your new place now, and may Lord God give you more blessings,good health and strengthen you more to inspire and educate those people who lost and those who almost forget about Jesus. Fr.Bob when will you visit Guadalupe Shrine cause we really misses you so much!! Thank you have a nice day!!


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