A reflection on the Scripture readings for Sunday, August 17, 2008 (my sister's birthday!). I struggled a bit with today's Gospel reading. A Canaanite woman goes to Jesus and begs that He heal her daughter. Most of the times I visualize Jesus as the perfect divine being He was, the Son of God. A being in a constant state of peace and wisdom, incapable of showing anything but the most amazing acceptance and compassion to all people. Thankfully, he was also Jesus the man. The man who wept when he learned a close friend died. The man who expressed anger with the vendors at the temple. The man who showed doubt and apprehension at the garden of Gethsemane.
Here we have a woman and a foreigner wanting something from Jesus. Jesus brushes her off twice with what seem like prejudicial statements "I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel,” “It is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs.” He reflected the strong feelings Israel had at the time of any foreigner, often comparing them to dogs. Was he testing her faith? Perhaps from a salvation plan there was a sense of priority and order. Perhaps it was more important to begin the conversion from within, to first extend the House of Prayer from within the walls of the temple and throughout all the people in Israel and then the world. "To the Jews first and then to the Greeks" Rom 1:16. I don't have an answer. I suppose the important thing is that He did show compassion, He did recognize her persistency and her faith, and healed her daughter.
For my personal growth I wonder, how many times I may express or think prejudicial statements towards other people that are different than me in some way? I also pray that moved by faith I would be as persistent as she was in seeking closeness with God and fighting for what is fair and just.