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.
The Canannites were not part of the chosen people Israel. In fact, there was great disregard for the Canaanites among the Israelites. Yet this Canaanite woman had heard about Jesus and came to him in faith, asking for a miracle for her daughter, who was possessed.
The disciples try to protect Jesus from the woman. Even Jesus almost dismisses her by saying that He has only come for the “house of Israel”. This is one of the few times in Scriptures where we hear that Jesus limits the people for whom He has been sent. That is why this sounds odd to our ears.
And yet the woman persists in faith. She completely humbles herself before Jesus and says she is willing to accept the scraps off of the table of the Master. She shows great humility and persistence and faith. And it is because of her faith that Jesus is moved to heal her daughter.
We know now that Jesus came for save everyone. When asked who is part of His family, Jesus says, “The one who does the will of my heavenly Father is my brother, my sister and my mother.” In other words, it is not our family of origin, nor the color of our skin that makes us a part of Jesus’ family. It is about faith and doing the will of God the Father. This Canaanite woman became a part of Jesus’ family this day because of her faith.
Every one of us becomes an adopted son or daughter of God in our baptism. But that is not the end. We are called to put our faith into action by listening to the Word of God and acting upon it. And we receive the same inheritance as Jesus when we do so – eternal life. Now that is GOOD NEWS!
May we follow the example of this Canaanite woman by humbling ourselves before the Lord, being persistent in prayer and placing our complete trust and faith in Jesus. Our reward will be great in heaven – and the Lord may perform some miracles in our lives here on earth.