Year of Faith Article IV:
Woman you have great faith. Your daughter is healed.
And behold, a Canaanite woman of that district (Tyre and Sidon)came and called out, "Have pity on me, Lord, Son of David!My daughter is tormented by a demon." But he did not saya word in answer to her. His disciples came and asked him,"Send her away, for she keeps calling out after us"...But the woman came and did him homage, saying,"Lord, help me."... Then Jesus said to her in reply,"O woman, great is your faith!Let it be done for you as you wish."And her daughter was healed from that hour.Matthew 15: 21-28 (NAB)
Please note that this is a shortened version. It will be helpful to read the whole pericope of chapter 15 which is filled with traditions, healings and miracles.
Now, don"t you just love these Disciples of Christ? They are forever sending people away from him! Remember the little children who came for blessings? (Mk. 10:13-16). In fact, Christ chided them for sending the little ones away and embraced and blessed the children. What is with those who seem to think they are closest to Christ? Instead of pleading on behalf of the obviously worried woman who was asking a favor for her child, they were ready to send her packing because... hmm... (you fill in the blank!)
I love the woman"s steadfastness. She stood her ground and rather than engage in a battle with the disciples, paid homage to Christ, the King of kings. Not only that, she pleaded again, "Lord, help me." Three simple words - how often do we remember to go before the Lord with these words, "Lord, help me"?
See, sometimes, it pays to be steadfast even if we do not get the answers we seek. Christ had of course heard the Canaanite woman"s plea for help. She was not even asking for herself. That is how strong her faith was. She was asking for help for her daughter, despite the fact that Canaanites in those days were not friends of the Jews. She was not afraid to be seen asking the "King of the Jews" for a favor.
We can learn a few things from this story:
- Jesus loves each one of us. It does not matter our heritage; after all are we not made in his image and likeness? I wish humanity will remember this fact.
- The disciples, like some modern day evangelists will place impediments in your way - but, keep your eyes fixed on Jesus and do not let your faith waiver. After all, they too are followers and make mistakes just like you and I do.
- There is no need to argue...just go straight to the master healer. Christ sees our hearts and knows our thoughts. He loves us; that is the heart of the matter.
- Be bold! Ask on behalf of friends and family. The more you intercede for others, the more you grow closer to God. Why? You tend to forget your own problems when your focus is on helping others - psychologists attest to this fact.
- Pay homage to Christ and no one else. Remember the first commandment - ah, you thought I was going to write it down, huh? Nope! Go and do some research; it will your do heart some good!
- If your parents are alive, thank them over and over again for the many times they sought help on your behalf. They felt no shame or humiliation. They just did it out of love for you. Remember, there is only one commandment with a promise. This time, I will write it down - "honor your father and mother so that your days may be long." (Exodus 20:12, Deut. 5:16, Ephesians 6:1-3).
- If you are a parent and your child has gone wayward, do not give up. Prayers work wonders. Keep interceding on behalf of your children even if you think they do not deserve your love. Wait a minute - can we ask God for favors if we bear grudges against others?
- "Lord, help me." Let this be your mantra. The Canaanite woman placed all her trust in the Lord. This is a sign of complete abandonment and humility. Be humble enough to realize you cannot solve all your problems. Jeremiah reminds us in Lamentations 3:22 that, the "steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end..." How beautiful, how reassuring, how loving. Don"t you love this wonderful God who never ceases to be merciful? I do, I love him so.
- "O woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish." It is all about faith, isn"t it? How I will love to hear these words from Our Lord on my last day on earth! "Great is your faith!" Recall how many times Christ healed people because of their faith. Faith matters, faith in God matters. Hold on to your faith like it is all you have. Well, it is all we have really.
- Be thankful. Be grateful to God for all the blessings you have received and are yet to receive. Count your blessings, for the God we serve is a God of miracles and love!
Dorothy Mensah-Aggrey, MA
Administrative Specialist-Curriculum Design & Adult Catechesis
University of Dayton
Institute for Pastoral Initiatives
Note: This is a series of articles that will be published periodically during the Year of Faith taking a different perspective on the biblical aspects of the Year of Faith.
Original Release Date: Jun. 2013