Wednesday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time [I]
Numbers 13:1-2,25—14:1,26-29,34-35 + Matthew 15:21-28
August 9, 2017
“‘Please, Lord, for even the dogs eat the scraps that fall from the table of their masters.’”
When the Israelites entered the Promised Land after the Exodus, they met up with the Canaanites, whom they considered to be wicked and godless, a race of people that they should exterminate. This outlook persisted until the time of Jesus. In today’s Gospel passage, Jesus explains that this outlook cannot be held by His followers.
The woman in the Gospel passage is a Canaanite. She had enough faith in Jesus to ask Him to release her daughter from a demon. But then Jesus says a shocking thing to the woman: “It is not right to take the food of the sons and daughters and throw it to the dogs.” These words do not represent Jesus’ own thoughts, but we see—because of the response that Jesus draws out of the woman, and because of Jesus’ action in reply—the lesson that Jesus has for His followers.
In the midst of our culture today, Jesus says to us, “Love is not exclusively for those who are dear to us.” Jesus teaches that we must love those we may consider enemies, and pray for those who persecute us.