Jesus left that place and went away to the district of Tyre and Sidon. Just then a Canaanite woman from that region came out and started shouting, “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is tormented by a demon.” But he did not answer her at all. And his disciples came and urged him, saying, “Send her away, for she keeps shouting after us.” He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.” He answered, “It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.” She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” Then Jesus answered her, “Woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.” And her daughter was healed instantly.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
The Canaanite woman is truly the classical outsider: a pagan, a pest, a challenge to the disciples and even to Jesus. But, amazingly, she wins the day. Can we even say she causes Jesus to expand the horizons of his own ministry? Does this happen to us as well? Does God call us at various times to broaden our vision, our outlook on ourselves, on others, and on God himself? Examine the ways and thank Him for such challenges. The status quo may make us feel comfortable. But God’s ways are not always our ways.
Another approach. Is there something of the “outsider” in each one of us? Some way I don’t seem to fit in, a feeling that if someone were to take a microscope and look at the secret depths of my heart, there would be areas which the gospel has not yet touched. They may well be embarrassing. Courage! Jesus can handle even this if we let him and implore him. Just ask the Canaanite woman. Maybe she can teach you a lesson on how to get what you want despite all the odds!
—Fr. Jim Serrick, S.J. is a long-time musician, liturgist, and pastor. He currently serves at Colombiere Jesuit Center, Clarkston, MI.
I can do everything in Christ who strengthens me — even when I least suspect.Please share the Good Word with your friends!