I have been thinking about the Gospel yesterday about the Canaanite woman who shouts at Jesus to have mercy on her because her daughter is tormented by a demon. Mathew 15 says: But he did not answer her at all. How many of us have been there? We beg, we scream, we plead, we cuss, and we do everything and all we hear is silence from the Great Physician. The woman is relentless. She kneels down in front of him, asking for help. He says cryptically that it is not fair to take away the food from the children and throw it to the dogs. That might deter most people but not this woman. She retorts that even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from the master’s table.
Now if you own a dog or have friends that do, you know that some of them love to stare at you with those big puppy eyes, melting your resolve not to feed them crumbs from the tables. They are much like that Canaanite woman who wears you down until you give in. I sometimes slip a dog a nibble from my plate and Jesus grants the woman her request.
I have stood in that still silence, waiting for an answer and one does not seem to come. What then when no treat is offered, not a tiny speck is held out? What do we do then? Is God sleeping? Are we asking for something we should not? Is this some mean-spirited test that I seem to be failing? Is it my lack of trust or my inability to hear Christ’s response? Am I not being relentless enough? Do I need to whimper instead of shout? Surely there is a logic reason for my prayer not being answered?
I do not have an easy answer for this scenario. I cannot tell you why the hatred of White Supremacists exists nor can I explain why good people, especially children, die in an untimely manner. I cannot explain why half the world starves due to lack of food and the wealthier nations feed us images that drive young girls and women to eating disorders. I do not comprehend why women are constantly subjected to sexual violence and men have such messed up thinking about love and sex. I think these ferocious questions are often met with silence. There might not be answers this side of the thin veil. I do know that eventually the question finds a home in my soul and if I am fortunate enough, I might get a glimmer of why such things occur, but I am always unsettled by these ponderings.
I do not have a list of questions to demand answers from the Trinity when I arrive at the Gates. I have learned to embrace the Mystery and while I am not happy, I accept that I may get no answer at all. Once on the other side of that Veil, I suspect, the answers will not be important. The question that I will be asked will be the telling tale–what did you do to end these injustices, comfort those who needed to be consoled, and change what you could in your corner of the world? That question will reckon an answer. Silence will not be acceptable.
When have you received no answer at all?
What have you done to change what you could when you are faced with injustice, violence, and sorrow?
Ask away, but be ready for the silence. Keep knocking, keep asking, and keep seeking. Omniscient One, grant that I may be relentless and that I may also be an agent of peace in this world. Amen.