Today’s Gospel: Matthew 15:21-28 – 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time
The Canaanite woman gives a great example of how to pray. She comes on the scene shouting, crying out to Jesus in a loud voice. She must have been annoying, since the disciples basically ask Jesus to get rid of her. The woman didn’t make her request only once, but kept on shouting after them. It would seem like Jesus should have responded right away, but He simply ignores her and doesn’t say anything to her at all.
Undaunted, the woman presents her case. She’s not asking for herself, but for her sick daughter. That’s why she won’t stop until Jesus responds to her. His first reply does not seem promising. She’s a Canaanite, not a Jew, so she’s not in the group Jesus was sent to serve. His second reply would discourage almost anyone, but not this lady. Instead of taking offense at being compared to a dog, she turns the table on Jesus. She agrees with him. “Yes, Lord, maybe I am a dog, but I can still get some of the scraps!” That reply wins Jesus’ heart and he grants her request.
Perhaps Jesus was testing her faith. She passed the test because she wanted her daughter to get well. Nothing else mattered. She was willing to be compared to a dog as long as it meant her daughter would get well. The Canaanite woman teaches us the most important lesson about prayer: never give up. In our age of instant results, we don’t like to wait. We want things right away. But prayer can’t be like that. Prayer is on God’s timetable, not on ours. Our task is to annoy God constantly with our requests. Far from being annoyed at us, however, God delights in his children who never cease to call out to him.
How persistent am I in my prayer? Do I expect instant results, or can I wait on God’s timing?
Jesus, help me to be like this Canaanite woman and never give up on prayer. Even if You don’t respond right away, I still trust in You!
Copyright 2017 Sr. Marianne Lorraine Trouvé, FSP
Sr. Marianne Lorraine Trouvé is a Daughter of Saint Paul with wide experience in editing and writing. She is the author of Angels: Help from on High; Mary: Help in Hard Times; and books on saints for children. Her blog focuses on Marian topics and themes from St. Thomas Aquinas.