REFLECTION FOR TODAY
August 4, 2021
By Fr. Andrew Ibegbulem, OSA
At that time Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. And behold, a Canaanite woman of that district came and called out, “Have pity on me, Lord, Son of David! My daughter is tormented by a demon.” But he did not say a word in answer to her. Matt. 15:21-23
Our gospel reference today presence us with the encounter between Jesus and the Canaanite woman. When Jesus tried to discourage her because of his exclusive mission to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, the woman’s humble and persistent faith paid off.
In the gospels, only two people were recommended as having great faith. The centurion and the Canaanite woman. More impressive is the fact that these two are Gentiles, outsiders, who would have been considered unclean by the most faithful Jews.
Desperate as she was for the grace of healing for her daughter, this mother had two things against her, first, she was a woman and secondly a Canaanite. She was so determined that she did not allow these barrier stand in her way. Out of love for her daughter and faith in the power of Jesus to heal, she cried out “Have pity on me Lord, Son of David”
At first, it is surprising that Jesus remained silent. She came to Him with deep faith and trust, and He did not answer her at first. His disciples wanted her to stop bothering them, and Jesus Himself eventually responded to her stating that His mission during His public ministry was to the “lost sheep of the house of Israel,” meaning to the Jews.
It was by God’s providence that this woman came to Jesus as she did. The Father drew her to Him, and Jesus participated in this discourse, not to be rude or dismissive but to allow her to manifest a faith that was clearly lacking in the lives of many.
In our lives, at times God seems silent. But if He is silent, we must know that it is for good reason. God never ignores us; rather, His silence is a way of drawing us even closer to Himself than if He were to be immediately “loud and clear,” speak. Silence from God is not necessarily a sign of His disfavor. It’s often a sign of His purifying action drawing us to a much fuller manifestation of our faith.
This woman manifested a faith in the fact that Jesus was the Messiah. This is evident by her calling Him “Son of David.” Her trust in Jesus’ ability to heal her daughter was expressed in very simple and clear words. She didn’t need to present herself as worthy of His help, because her trust in Him was all that was needed. Her perseverance in her prayer was highly commendable.
Reflect, today, upon the qualities of this woman’s prayer. Try to imitate her by first acknowledging the truth of Who Jesus is. He is the Messiah, the Son of David. Calling Jesus’ true identity to mind is a wonderful way to begin to pray. From there, make your prayer simple, clear, and humble. Don’t present your wants, present your needs. What do you need from the Savior of the World? Of course, God knows what we need more than we do, but asking is an act of trust, so do so. Lastly, persevere. Do not get discouraged in prayer. Be fervent, relentless, and unwavering. Humble yourself before the Almighty power and mercy of God and do so without ceasing and God will always answer your prayer in accord with His holy will.
Lord, You are truly the Messiah, the Son of David, the Son of God. You and You alone deserve all honor, glory and praise. As I come to know You as You are, please fill me with a deep trust and unwavering faith in You. May I persevere through all things and never cease to put all my hope in You. Jesus, I trust in You.