Gospel Reflection – “Great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire”

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HAC for Fr.Nathan – image – courtesy and used with permission – www.freebibleimages.org – copyright  LUMO Project

Jesus first tests the woman’s faith
What did Jesus mean by the expression “throwing bread to the dogs”? The Jews often spoke of the Gentiles with arrogance and insolence as “unclean dogs” since the Gentiles did not follow God’s law and were excluded from God’s covenant and favor with the people of Israel. For the Greeks the “dog” was a symbol of dishonor and was used to describe a shameless and audacious woman. There is another reference to “dogs” in Matthew’s Gospel where Jesus says to his disciples, “Do not give to dogs what is holy” (Matthew 7:6).  Jesus tests this woman’s faith to see if she is earnest in receiving holy things from the hand of a holy God. Jesus, no doubt, spoke with a smile rather than with an insult because this woman immediately responds with wit and faith – “even the dogs eat the crumbs”.

Seek the Lord Jesus with expectant faith
Jesus praises a Gentile woman for her faith and for her love. She made the misery of her child her own and she was willing to suffer rebuff in order to obtain healing for her loved one. She also had indomitable persistence. Her faith grew in contact with the person of Jesus. She began with a request and she ended on her knees in worshipful prayer to the living God. No one who ever sought Jesus with earnest faith – whether Jew or Gentile – was refused his help. Do you seek the Lord Jesus with expectant faith?

 

Daily Quote from the early church fathersThe Mother of the Gentiles, by Epiphanius the Latin (late 5th century)

“After our Lord departed from the Jews, he came into the regions of Tyre and Sidon. He left the Jews behind and came to the Gentiles. Those whom he had left behind remained in ruin; those to whom he came obtained salvation in their alienation. And a woman came out of that territory and cried, saying to him, ‘Have pity on me, O Lord, Son of David!’ O great mystery! The Lord came out from the Jews, and the woman came out from her Gentile territory. He left the Jews behind, and the woman left behind idolatry and an impious lifestyle. What they had lost, she found. The one whom they had denied in the law, she professed through her faith. This woman is the mother of the Gentiles, and she knew Christ through faith. Thus on behalf of her daughter (the Gentile people) she entreated the Lord. The daughter had been led astray by idolatry and sin and was severely possessed by a demon.” (excerpt from  INTERPRETATION OF THE GOSPELS 58)

WRITTEN BY: Harold Clitheroe