August 7, 2019
by Mary Lee Brock
Creighton University's Graduate School
click here for photo and information about the writer

Wednesday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 409

Numbers 13:1-2, 25-14:1, 26A-29A, 34-25
Psalms 106:6-7AB, 13-14, 21-22, 23
MattHew 15:21-38
Praying Ordinary Time

Weekly Guide for Daily Prayer

Praying in Times of Crisis

“Be careful.”  “Don’t say too much.”  “You had better let me do the talking.” “Are you sure they are ready to hear that?”  Throughout my life I have been given these messages and many like them.  As a straightforward person who values open and honest communication, I have experienced a range of responses to these statements from puzzlement to anger.  I wonder if these warnings are meant to protect me, protect others or are an attempt to control anticipated chaos.

One of my heroines from scripture is the Canaanite women in the today’s gospel from Matthew.  She advocates for her tormented daughter by calling out to Jesus for help.  Jesus ignores her and his disciples try to quiet her by asking Jesus to send her away because she keeps shouting at them.  But yet the woman stays firm in her advocacy.  And she holds her own in a debate with Jesus about the value of giving scraps to dogs.  She wins Jesus over with her strength, clarity and faith.  And she achieves her heartfelt goal of having her daughter healed and at peace.

This exchange inspires me to explore how my faith informs my responses to being ignored, rejected or contradicted.  I feel a call to move from my head to my heart and let what I hold near and dear inform my response.  It can be so easy to be distracted into debating facts and figures, putting forth a powerful argument.  But the Canaanite woman shows that by staying steadfast and grounded much can be accomplished.

We all share a desire to be heard and to be seen for who we are.  I pray to be available to people who might appear to be “shouting” at me.  I ask God to remind me that they feel strongly about their position and fear what might happen in the future.  With God’s guidance I can develop a stance of compassion and invite the open and honest communication that I deeply value.  This is good way to “be careful.”

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