Jesus left that place and 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.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved (http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations)
God’s saving grace is a gift. There is nothing we can do to earn it; no family that we can be born in to that qualifies us automatically for heaven. But at the same time, there is a certain heroic passivity required on our part that allows us to take advantage of God’s grace. We must put ourselves in the position of a beggar, with our hands empty and open, ready to receive that which God offers us.
In the Gospel of Matthew, we see the story of a woman who knows full well that she is an outsider. There is no presumption on her part that she is worthy of Christ’s attention. But this does not deter her. She continues to beg and plead, giving Our Lord the opportunity to make a point about the faith of the woman. It is in her need that she is found receptive to God’s grace which is so readily available to all of God’s children. Christ did not reverse His decision to help only “the children” of God; rather, He makes it clear that all who have the humbling faith of the woman are welcomed as children of God.
—Mr. John Brown, S.J.
Lord, our intentions are good. We mean to save space in our day to listen and share with you. When we have done this in the past, we have experienced a security found in you and untouched by the headaches and heartaches of the day. We want to empty ourselves of anything that distances our heart from you. We turn to you, Lord, with open hands and open hearts. Fill us with your grace that we may accept that we really are your beloved and that your Spirit is present in our morning, afternoon, and evening.
—The Jesuit Prayer Team