TWENTIETH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
(Green) Cycle A/Year I (August 20, 2017)
Is 56:1, 6-7/Rom 11:13-15, 29-32/Mt 15:21-28
THE CANAANITE WOMAN’S FAITH
The story about the Canaanite woman is important in the mission of Jesus. It is one of the very few occasions in which we encounter Jesus outside the Jewish territory. In this pagan place, Jesus helped a Canaanite who was traditionally considered a mortal enemy of the Jews. This event illustrates the universality of the salvific mission of Jesus Christ.
The Canaanite woman showed her great love for her daughter. It was love that made her humble herself in front of the Jew, an enemy, and beg for His mercy and help. William Barclay said: “The driving force of this woman’s heart was love; and there is nothing stronger and nothing nearer God than that very thing.” Aside from love, the woman also had faith. She had faith that Jesus could cure her daughter possessed by a demon. This faith grew stronger in contact with Jesus. It made her worship Jesus. She began calling Jesus, Son of David, and ended calling Him, Lord. She began following Jesus; she ended on her knees worshiping Jesus. She began with a request, she ended in prayer. The woman also had a determined persistence. Even though the disciples of Jesus persuaded her from following Jesus, still she kept on following Jesus and calling on Him. Even though Jesus discouraged her from asking for help because she was not a Jew, she still insisted and argued in order to justify her asking for help. Jesus saw how great the love, faith and perseverance of the woman were and so He conceded to her prayer; He cured the daughter of the Canaanite woman.
The Canaanite woman is a model for all of us Christians. We are not Jews. And because of this, we share the salvific act of Jesus the way the Canaanite woman received such salvific act: a pure grace. But in order for us to be worthy to receive such great grace of eternal salvation, we have to imitate the example of that pagan woman.
We must love. The commandment of Jesus is to love God and our neighbor. Love is an act for the good of the beloved not for oneself. It is an act that is selfish and other centered. When we love our neighbor, we help them in their needs and in the process, we glorify God.
We must have faith in Jesus. Our faith can only grow stronger if we are in constant communication with Him. We need to pray daily and attend the Holy Mass every Sunday. We have to dedicate a quality time for our Lord so that we too may have conversion, from enemies of God to children of God, from sinners to saints.
We must persevere in the love and in our faith in Jesus. There are always trials as we journey through life. There will always be hindrances in following Jesus. But these must not stop us from following Jesus. We must continue our journey in Christian life. We must always hold on to Jesus. He will never abandon us as long as we cling to Him at all times. He will certainly lead us towards the fullness of life and eternal salvation.