THIRTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST
This is the day the LORD hath made let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Isaiah 56:1-8 Romans 11:13-15,29-32 Matthew 15:21-28 Psalm 78:1-3
Jesus had just finished explaining to the crowd that it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but rather what comes out. The encounter with the Canaanite woman illustrates this point. Some thought her to be a heathen, an outsider, eater of forbidden foods, and a worshiper of foreign gods. She came to Jesus begging for mercy and healing for her daughter.
At first Christ ignored her pleading, saying "I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel. It is not right to take the children's bread and toss it to their dogs." Jesus reflected an important reality; no Gentile had a claim to Israel's blessing for God's covenant promises were given to Abraham's seed. So the Canaanite woman's place was under the table, but that didn't prevent her from getting the "crumbs", the blessings that Jesus could give her without depriving "the children" and taking any blessing from the Jews.
This incident emphasizes the priority Jesus spoke of in the Gospel being "first for the Jew, then for the Gentiles". In response to the woman's faith her daughter was healed that very hour. This woman of great faith serves as another preview of the harvest from all nations, Gentiles who are children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. This text does not merely teach us about a faith that won't give up, but a faith that persists when the apparent answer is no. The lesson text matches the other readings for the day. It assures us that the Savior who came to the lost sheep of Israel also has other sheep to bring to eternal life.
Christian friends, Great faith is a trusting openness to the power, promises and the unfailing love of God. In this Pentecost season of growth, may the Canaanite woman show us the true model of great faith.
God helps in-deed in time of need, His mercy is for sharing They who have great faith in God Shall not be left desparing.
PRAY with me. Merciful Father, since You have given Your only Son as the sacrifice for our sin, also give us grace to receive with thanksgiving the fruits of His redeeming work and daily follow in His way; through Your Son Jesus Christ. Amen