Wednesday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Matthew 15: 21-28
At that time Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. And behold, a Canaanite woman of that district came and called out, “Have pity on me, Lord, Son of David! My daughter is tormented by a demon.” But he did not say a word in answer to her. His disciples came and asked him, “Send her away, for she keeps calling out after us.” He said in reply, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” But the woman came and did him homage, saying, “Lord, help me.” He said in reply, “It is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs.” She said, “Please, Lord, for even the dogs eat the scraps that fall from the table of their masters.” Then Jesus said to her in reply, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.” And her daughter was healed from that hour.
Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus, I believe you want me to have faith in you, faith that hearkens to your words without any second guessing. I hope in your words, not relying solely on my own strength or reasoning. I love you. You continue to astonish me by showing me that your ways are not my ways.
Petition: Lord, fill my heart with gratitude and trust even when those I love suffer.
- My daughter… “My daughter is tormented by a demon.” Sufferings of strangers stir our compassion. But when a son or daughter suffers, anguish can reach fever pitch. Imagine the agony of the mother in this Gospel passage. Imagine the near-physical pain she felt in the depths of her heart. However, her love nourished her hope and propelled her to seek out Christ. When those we love suffer, we need the same wisdom to seek the Lord.
- Unfathomed Dimensions: Only a mother or father knows the depths of his or her love for a child: “Words cannot express.…” We truly understand love when it involves people we know and love. Contemplate the passion of our Lord Jesus Christ. Imagine the false accusations, scourging, humiliations and the crucifixion. Now imagine your own son or daughter, or mom or dad or loved one, suffering the same fate. Christ’s passion takes on a new dimension.
- A Purified Faith: “Please, Lord, for even the dogs eat the scraps that fall from the table of their masters.” Scripture scholars tell us that, being a Canaanite, this woman believed in many gods, and turned to Jesus as one more option – perhaps a desperate one – to find healing for her daughter. Perhaps this is why Jesus seemingly ignored her petition at first, to allow her faith to be purified and grow. It was on the bedrock of her humility that this final prayer was said and answered by the Lord. When we come across unanswered prayers, we too can ask ourselves: is this is an opportunity for my faith and exclusive trust in God to grow? Is it an opportunity for my humility to grow? This too we can bring to prayer before God.
Conversation with Christ: Lord, I will praise and thank you a thousand times and in a thousand ways for all you do for me. Even sufferings, I know, come from your hand for my greater good, although I may not always perceive the good at that moment. Give me the gratitude, faith and trust to accept my cross and rejoice in your creative love for me.
Resolution: I will thank the Lord repeatedly throughout the day.