Monday 24 October 2022

Bible Book:

‘Woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.’ (v. 28)

Matthew 15:21-31 Monday 24 October 2022

Psalm 89:1-18


Today’s passage can be very puzzling. Jesus is approached by a Gentile woman who is looking for help because her daughter is ill, but instead of immediately welcoming her he stays silent, and his disciples, no doubt in irritation, want him to get rid of her. He doesn’t send her away but he does seem to suggest that his mission isn’t really for Gentiles. He compares healing her daughter with throwing children’s bread to the dogs, which sounds quite insulting. Is he trying to defend his statement that Jewish people had priority on his attention, or is he testing her? We don’t know. What we do know is that the woman’s response illustrated that she too had faith and, most importantly, we know that Jesus healed the child.

We might wonder whether this incident helped Jesus to illustrate to his disciples, or indeed to see himself, that ultimately his mission was not going to be confined to Israel but would be for the whole world. That was such a huge leap in the understanding of his community. It would take some time and hard work for the Early Church to realise that God’s love in Christ was for everyone.

If the first part of today’s passage carries within it the hint that the gospel is not confined to one nation, the second part of our reading today underlines that Jesus’ ministry was nevertheless a true fulfilment of the hopes of his own people, Israel. In Isaiah 35 we have a song of hope in God’s coming kingdom which the prophet sang during difficult days. Within that song we find the words:

“Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
and the ears of the deaf unstopped; 
then the lame shall leap like a deer,
and the tongue of the speechless sing for joy.” (vs 5-6)

Jesus was now turning this kingdom hope into reality.


To Ponder:

  • Imagine yourself as a bystander when Jesus was approached by the Canaanite woman. What do you think you would have seen and what would you have learned from the encounter?
  • Where do you see the hope of God’s kingdom being turned into reality?


Help me, Lord, to see where you are at work. Grant me the grace to appreciate what you are doing, the wisdom to know how to share in your mission and the courage to join in. Amen. 

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