Today we have Matthew's version of Jesus acquiescing to ministering to those outside of the chosen community to which he was initially sent. Not my favorite Jesus shows up today: one who is seemingly uncaring, unthoughtful and pretty rude. Today we have a major step by Jesus (and eventually his disciples) to reaching out to those outside of their comfort zone.
This Canaanite woman is persistent, as we have seen others be persistent, in asking Jesus for help. The disciples apparently are unsuccessful in shoo-ing her away and they complain to Jesus to do something about her peskiness. He is verbally unkind to her but she persists in asking for help for her beloved daughter. Her love for her tormented daughter drove her to continue to ask, beg, for Jesus' help.
There are a number of ways we can reflect on this Gospel. One is that God will always listen to our prayerful requests based in love. Another is that God's love for us is like-unto that Canaanite woman's love for her tormented daughter. God is persistently calling after us, coming toward us, offering that love to us. We can be very persistent in not recognizing that loving call, just as God is more persistent in offering it to us. Lucky for us God has more patience than we can imagine.
Copyright 2009, The Rev. John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.