Yesterday’s Gospel was about the Canaanite woman who shouted at Jesus to have mercy on her because her daughter was being tormented by a demon. Jesus initially ignores her and then his disciples get annoyed at her persistent yelling. They ask him to send her away. He takes a hands-off approach, barely acknowledging that she is not his problem since she is not one of the lost sheep of Israel. She takes another avenue, by humbly kneeling before him and asking in a quieter voice for help. Jesus’ response is startling: It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs. She responds: Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from the master’s table. Jesus praises her great faith, one of only two times in the Gospels that he does this, and grants her request. Her daughter is instantly healed.
How many times do we shout at Jesus and believe he ignores us? I have been there more than once in my life. The most significant time was in the hospital chapel, pacing at the back, unable to sit or kneel, as my youngest sister lay dying in a room upstairs. I railed at God, demanding to know if the Almighty One was asleep on the job. Was God listening to my noise? I believe the answer is yes. Like Jesus, God heard and was waiting for a change in stance, I think.
i have joined an online support group for patients with cholangiocarcinoma and I see how terrified some are–it is not a judgment but an observation. I have definitely been scared during this experience and had my share of meltdowns. I think that is when I do not sense the Divine though. These are the times that the Evil One sneaks in and plays with my mind and spirit, creating havoc. Only when I quietly kneel in front of Jesus can I clearly hear what he has to say to me–when I become silent and listen. When I ask for even just the crumbs from the altar, knowing this will be enough, I release my sense of entitlement and lovingly assure myself that God will give me what I need, not just what I want. In that moment, I know that I will have more than enough.
When was the last time you shouted at Jesus?
When was the last time you knelt humbly before Christ and asked for help?
Banquet-Provider, give me mere morsels if that is all I need. Ignore my demands of entitlement and help me to humbly kneel before you to receive whatever crumbs you long to give me. This will be more than enough. Amen.