These are the words that recognize the faith of a woman who is ready to do anything to obtain what she is looking for Jesus, a cure from illness.

It is the faith of the Canaanite woman and our faith that makes her and us different. Faith allows us to have a relationship with God through prayer; it also leads us to know and converse with Jesus whom we meet in the Gospel. Faith then gives us the hope that things can change for the better.

The woman in the gospel shows us the first condition of prayer: the certainty that God is with us, that God has the power to aid us: to listen, to help and to cure.

When I read this passage, one of the things that amazes me is the love of a mother who does not count the cost to obtain what her daughter needs. Is this image familiar to you? Parents are amazing, for in them we can see all of the effort and dedication and selfishness they have for their children. The gospel today also shows us more: faith in God.

These are the words of the woman to Jesus: Have pity on me…. Help me… In those sentences, the object is the woman, the person who seeks pity and help, because, for a mother, her children are part of her; she suffers with them. For the Canaanite woman, there is no going back; she will not relent, she will continue to follow, insisting, asking, begging, all because she believes! She teaches us that faith leads us, moves us and even when some people will attempt to stop us, we need to continue to move forward toward Jesus.

Although our gospel passage focuses on a cure, its central message is about the depth of the woman’s faith. Likewise, in our lives many things occur; yet we can never lose sight of that which animates us, our faith. That is why Jesus praises this woman and her faith.

When we reflect on our faith, which we practice in freedom, and which we often take for granted, let us take a moment to pray for those who are suffering today because of their faith. Those Christians are just like you and me and because they share our faith they are being persecuted and killed.  In your prayers please be grateful for what you have and pray for those who are deprived of the gift of freedom to practice their faith.

 

-Fr. Sergio