You are beautiful… pleasant… delightful…
… Your love is like honey…
… Your presence is charming!
>> You are wonderful in your splendour and spectacular in your majesty!
These are some of the endearing and appealing and fascinating words that are addressed to Jesus.
This is the Jesus who is sweet, cuddly, lovable, adorable, amiable, agreeable and friendly!
We yearn for this Jesus.
>> We are happy with this Jesus.
>> We are content with this Jesus!
We get settled, often for a sentimental faith.
>> We get fixated, often with a faith based on emotions and sweet words.
Perhaps, that’s how we also want our world to be – kind, caring, accommodating, considerate and gentle!
But we know…
… The reality is different!
The world that we wish is very often not the world that we experience.
>> The world that we aspire is often in contrast with the world that we come in contact with.
We like a peaceful world…
… but we often encounter a world with missiles and innocent lives snatched away!
We like an equal society…
… but we often meet a society which discriminates and victimizes people!
We like a just culture…
… but we often run into a culture which is corrupt and degrading and inhuman!
We like a respectful civilization…
… but we bump into a civilization which is debasing and merciless!
The world of our actual experience is very different from the world that we hope and desire for…
In this context, we need a Faith that can carry us through this tough life.
>> A faith based on mere sweet words, pious rituals and peripheral feelings doesn’t suffice…
A mere sentimental faith leaves us paralyzed and crippled with the hard-hitting realities of life!
We need a Faith that’s strong….
… a Faith that’s valiant!
… a Faith that can battle life’s odds!
The Canaanite Woman in today’s Gospel Reading is a Person who possessed this Challenging and Brave Faith!
She is a big misfit in approaching Jesus and to be a bearer of Faith…
1. She is a Canaanite
>> An unaccepted pagan….a denied heathen!
2. She is a Woman
>> A degraded status… a humiliated class!
3. She has a possessed child
>> A helpless situation…a miserable condition!
Yet she dares to approach the Lord of the Universe, crying:
“Lord, Son of David, have pity on me!!” (Mt 15:22)
The 1st Reply from the Lord?
>> Shhhh…. (the Word Perfect responds with a total hush…)
… “Jesus did not say a word in answer to her” (Mt 15: 23a)
With no answer from the Master, the wait for the Woman increases…
>> It’s a trying time…
>> It’s a testing moment…
The irritated disciples seek to chase her away, disturbed by the shoutings and the wailings…
” Send her away, for she keeps calling out after us” (Mt 15: 23b)
The 2nd Reply from the Lord?
>> Hmmm… (I am sent not for her category…I am sent only for the Chosen Race…)
… “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Mt 15: 24)
Facing discouragement from the Master, the hopes of the woman diminishes…
>> It’s a grilling time…
>> It’s a grueling moment
Yet she dares to approach once more… kneeling before the Throne of Mercy:
” Lord, help me!!” (Mt 15: 25)
The 3rd Reply from the Lord?
>> Grrr… (Children’s bread is not thrown to the dogs…)
… “It is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs” (Mt 15:26)
Experiencing more anguish from the Master, the expectations of the woman is crushed…
>> It’s a hard time
>> It’s a harsh moment
To hear being called a DOG…
… was humiliating and insulting and offensive!
Was this the height of rudeness??
But, the woman of Faith noticed that Jesus had used the Greek word “kunariois”
… It was the word for household pets!
She noticed that He had not used the other Greek word “kuon”
… which is the word for other stray dogs
>> There was the opening…
>> There was the occasion…
>> There was the possibility…
A person of Deep Faith is able to wait patiently for a sparkle of sunshine even in the midst of the darkest clouds!
>> The Woman of Faith sneaked a chance in that seemingly degrading word…
>> The Woman of Faith found her prospect in that apparently disgusting expression…
She was a “kunariois” – a household pet…!
She immediately matches her wits with the wits of Jesus..
Pets are not outsiders… they are insiders
>> Pets are not out of the family…they are part of the family…
Pets are not to have a seat at the Master’s table…
… but they enjoy an intimacy at the Master’s feet!
So she replies:
“Yes Lord! But even the little dogs eat the crumbs that fall from the Master’s table” (Mt 15: 27)
It was a moment of Truth!
The 4th Reply from the Lord?
>> Wow!! (How marvelous is your faith!)
… “Woman, how great is your faith!” (Mt 15: 28)
The Lord of the Universe marvelled at her faith!
>> The Woman of Faith had triumphed!
The God of Healings blessed the Woman of Faith with her heart’s desire!
Life is definitely hard.
>> But we are challenged however to have a harder and a stronger faith!
The Canaanite Woman, who is proclaimed, through all the churches today, is a shining model!
>> She, who was called a DOG….(!)…is today praised by GOD…(!!)!
Sentimental Faith and Sugary Words are good in our relationship with the Lord…
… But it’s not enough!
We need to combine our ‘sweet faith with a tough trust’…
… Our ‘pious devotions with a faithful dedication’!
Yes, let us be a Person of Faith with the ‘Heart of a Dove’ and the ‘Skin of a Rhinoceros’!
God Bless! Live Jesus!