Daily Reflection on the Gospel of Sunday, August 20, 2023

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Today, we are given to contemplate the scene of the Canaanite woman: a pagan woman —not an Israeli one— whose daughter was very sick, possessed by the demon, and who had heard of Jesus. She comes to meet him and starts crying out: «Lord, Son of David, have pity on me! My daughter is tormented by a demon» (Mt 15:22). She is not asking for anything, she is only telling him of her daughter's sickness hoping Jesus will decide what to do.

But Jesus does not answer her. Why? Perhaps He had already realized the faith of that woman and wanted it to grow still further. And she keeps on begging, so that the disciples ask Jesus to send her away. This woman's faith is evidenced, above all, through her humble insistence, emphasized by his disciples’ words: «Send her away: see how she is shouting after us» (Mt 15:23).

The woman keeps on insisting; she does not get tired. Jesus' silence is explained by the fact He has only been sent to look after the lost sheep of the nation of Israel. Yet, after his resurrection, He will tell his disciples: «Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature» (Mk 16:15).

At times, God's silence torments us. We have often complained of such silence, haven't we? But the Canaanite woman kneels before Jesus. It is the worshipping position. He replies that it is not right to take the bread from the children to throw it to the dogs. And she answers: «It is true, Sir, but even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their master's table» (Mt 15:26-27).

This woman is very shrewd. She does not get angry, nor she loses her temper, but she actually admits that He is right. «It is true, Sir». And she places Him by her side. It looks like if she would be telling Him: —I am a dog, but the dog is under its master’s protection.

The Canaanite woman offers us a great lesson: she acknowledges the Lord is right, He who is always right. —Do not pretend to be right when you appear before the Lord. Do not ever complaint but, if you do, end up your prayer by saying: «O Lord, let your will be done».