Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Canaanite Woman

From today's gospel and the event that occurred in Jesus' life we are encouraged to seek the graces to see where inclusiveness in our Christian communities  is lacking or sadly absent and to determine what each of us can do to assure that the marginalized in society are not ignored or excluded from our Church.  Perhaps the following three points can help us look more deeply into our own hearts.

Jesus offers an example of what might be seen as "racial profiling."  A non-Jewish woman begin to become a nuisance because she, a Canaanite woman, is the mother of a demon-troubled daughter.  Somehow this woman has a genuine faith in Jesus:  "Lord, Son of David" she calls out to him.  On the surface this is a bod step on her part because she would not be Jewish, living in the region of Tyre and Sidon (today's Lebanon) where Judaism was not the common religious practice.  But here we cannot overlook her lack of fear in approaching Jesus.  Obviously she had heard about him.

Jesus tells her and those around that his mission is only to the "house of Israel."  However, her daughter is so important to her that she ignores the several remarks from Jesus' seemingly rejecting her repeated please to help this little child of hers.   Again she persists.  She believes Jesus is a man of graces.  Finally, Jesus accepts her pleas as genuine, faith-driven petitions for help.  "Woman, you have great faith.  Your wish will come to pass."  And Jesus did not disappoint her.

Jesus' action is a signal to the Jewish people as well as to other non-Jewish groups:  to belong to the kingdom of God does not require special membership qualifications!  Living faith in Jesus as our Lord is all that is expected.  So we are being taught by Jesus to consider our personal attitudes toward all the varieties of people marginalized by society at large.  He is challenging how we treat people who are labeled as "different."  How real is the "atmosphere"  in our various communities in being open to those who are "different"?  Is your heart filled with the wonder of God's creations that do not seem to be the same as we are?