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.
In this Gospel reading, a faithfully persistent Canaanite woman “calls out” to Jesus who was ‘withdrawing” out of town possibly looking for prayerful rest. The disciples encourage Jesus to ignore her and proceed with his plans. But Jesus stops, heals the woman’s daughter, and praises her for her great faith. He reiterates to the disciples that his chief purpose on this earth is to save the “lost sheep”.
Like many people, I have my “to do lists” I make every evening. The next day, I cross out these items on my list as I do them. As a teacher, students and staff often “call out” to me throughout my day in my classes and during my free period when I’m trying to lesson plan and grade. In the evening, it is my children calling out to me often wanting help or simply to tell me about their day. How do I view this “calling out”? Do I welcome these as invitations to engage or do I troubleshoot them quickly going back to my “important work”? What is my true mission or chief purpose on this earth?
Is there someone over the last 24-48 hours whom I have neglected or sent away because I thought I had more important things to do? Do I need to engage more deeply with this person?
—Dr. Sajit U. Kabadi is a chair of the Theology Department at Regis Jesuit High School in Colorado.
Lord, I pray for the joyful, graceful openness to listen to you calling out to me through the people and experiences that call me out of my plans. I pray for the humility to call out to you directly and through the people in my life, which you have blessed me with, who bring me joy. Amen.
—Dr. Sajit U. Kabadi