20th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A - 16/8/2020 - Gospel: Mt 15:21-28
Maternal Love
Parents know how distraught they can become caring for their sick child. They worry day and night, and suffer, as much if not more than their child. They would not hesitate to do all they could to ease the pain of their sick child. The Canaanite woman probably would feel the same. She spent all her savings for treatments and yet her daughter's sickness was not much better. Jesus was her last hope. He satisfied her request and  strengthened her faith. The woman went after Him shouting, 'Sir, Son of David, take pity on me. My daughter is tormented by a devil' v.22. Jesus ignored her request but refused to send her away. Her persistence disturbed Jesus' apostles, and they asked Him to give her what she asked for because they were annoyed by her shouting. Jesus told that, 'I was sent to the lost sheep of the House of Israel. v.24'. From His ignoring her request to recognizing her presence, she gained a huge step. It gave her hope. In a bold move, she knelt down at His feet, 'Lord, help me' v.25. Let us look at the movements of her faith. She first greeted Jesus as, 'Son of David'. She then recognized Jesus as her Lord, who had the power to defeat the devil. Her actions- kneeling and begging for pity- revealed her deep faith in Jesus. She knelt at His feet, and changed the tone of her language from 'Sir, have pity on me v.22' into 'Lord, help me v.26'. She now recognized Jesus as her 'Lord'. From ignoring her, Jesus then recognized her through His apostles' appeal on her behalf. Jesus then talked to her: 'It is not fair to take the children's food and throw it to the house dogs' v.26.  She replied that she was not an outsider of the household, but the insider who would accept a very humble status. She hoped to get what others would refuse to take- having the scraps that fall from the master's table- v.27. She believed that a house dog could eat the food reserved for a dog, and more importantly a house dog deserved love from his master. Her faith in Jesus was advancing from hope, to asking for pity and help, and finally to love. Her humble remark made Jesus praise her and grant her request. She regained her full status in God's house. Accepting a role of an animal of a household may be the cultural way of expressing true sorrow for one own sins. In the parable of 'The Prodigal Son' Lk 15, the son longed to eat food from the pigs, but yet he couldn't have any. He returned to his father, saying, 'He deserved to be his son no more but would love to be accepted as a paid servant'v.19. Expressing herself as a pet of the household, the woman accepted her past sins and would accept whatever the Master offered. Jesus was much more generous than the woman would hope for- restating her status as a daughter of God. Accepting Jesus as our Lord, we gain the status of God's children, becoming sons and daughters of God.