We have a pretty unfriendly Jesus this morning, and cranky disciples too boot. He and the disciples have just left Gennesaret where they were, rather unpolitely, requested to leave the district after healing the naked demoniac who lived in the cemetery. These folks did not welcome Jesus, nor respond to his curing of one of their own, which may have set him a bit on edge, and certainly would have done so to his disciples. So, perhaps this was the mood they were in when another individual from "outside the fold" comes a-hollerin for help.
She was persistent. Jesus ignored her but she kept on following and yelling at him to help, so much so that the disciples ask him to do something about her. He turns to her and is pretty insulting, comparing her and all non-Jews to dogs. She remains undeterred and says "well even dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters' table!" That retort seems to bring Jesus up short and he grants this woman's wish, to heal her daughter.
There are so many times in life when things can seem not to be going our way.I think one of the beauties of today's rather difficult Gospel reading is the reminder that we cannot, nor should we ever consider giving up. Prayer is an integral part of not giving up. Being unafraid to ask for help from those who can give us that help is another part of not giving up. Being proactive about finding that help we may need is also a part of not giving up. We may hope for and pray that we don't have to expend that energy and that the help will appear magically. The reality is we need to be persistent in the face of difficulty. We may not get the exact thing we want, but we will get what we need.
Copyright 2010, The Rev. John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.