Daily Reflection

From a Creighton Student's Perspective

August 8, 2012

Michael Bahl

Junior, Theology and Classical & Near Eastern Civilizations

Jer 31:1-7
Jer 31:10, 11-12ab, 13
Matt 15:21-28

"'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." -Matthew 15:21-28

In today's Gospel reading, a Canaanite woman approaches Jesus and his disciples, begging for Jesus to cure her daughter. Jesus, however, completely ignores her, acting as though she does not exist. This image of the cold-shoulder Jesus is completely unexpected; the Lord of Love refuses to even acknowledge her, not even gracing her with a word of dismissal. But at the same time, it is not that shocking. How often do we pray and not feel immediate fulfillment? Sometimes, in dire moments of frustration, when our problems just seem to multiply and we feel ostracized and completely disconnected from both the ones we love and the One who loves us, we experience this image of Jesus without realizing it.

The funny thing about images is that they can be misinterpreted – our "eyes playing tricks on us." Continuing on in the story, we see the image change. The woman prays again, saying "Lord, help me." Jesus turns and acknowledges her, and reminds her that she is not a part of his audience. This woman is a foreigner, holds different beliefs and customs, and yet she comes to Jesus, begging for divine assistance. While different, the Canaanite woman has one very special connection to Jesus: her humanity. So, she does the unexpected; she humbles herself down to the lowest point that she can, and places her daughter's fate and her own pride in Jesus' hands alone. At that point, when she opens her eyes and opens herself up entirely for the Lord, opening all of the doors of her heart for Jesus, Jesus finally shows mercy.

Sometimes pride and exclusivity get in the way of our prayer. In this Gospel example, the woman opens her heart up to the Lord more and more with each exchange. Jesus is able to help her more as she continues to grow. The more we open ourselves up and humble ourselves down, the more the warmth in our heart grows as God feeds the fire of our faith. Let us put our pride, our hearts, and everything of our selves in God's hands, and let us let him help us.

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