Walk in newness of life. Rom. 6:4
As ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness. Rom. 6:19
I beseech you…. brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind. Rom. 12:1, 2
If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. II Cor. 5:17
In Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy. Gal. 6:15, 16
This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind. Eph. 4:17
Ye have not so learned Christ; if so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus. Put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. Eph. 4:20, 21, 24
August 5, 2020
Wednesday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Readings for Today
But the woman came and did him homage, saying, “Lord, help me.” He said in reply, “It is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs.” She said, “Please, Lord, for even the dogs eat the scraps that fall from the table of their masters.” Matthew 15:25-27
Did Jesus really imply that helping this woman was like throwing food to dogs? Most of us would have taken great offense at what Jesus said as a result of our pride. But what He said was true and was not rude in any way. Jesus obviously cannot be rude. Nonetheless, His statement has the superficial appearance of being rude.
First, let’s look at how His statement is true. Jesus was being asked by this woman to come heal her daughter. Basically, Jesus tells her she is not deserving of this grace in anyway. And that’s true. No more than a dog deserves to be fed from the table do we deserve the grace of God. Though this is a shocking way to say it, Jesus says it this way so as to first illustrate the truth of our sinful condition and unworthiness. And this woman takes it.
Second, Jesus’ statement allows this woman to react with the utmost humility and faith. Her humility is seen in the fact that she does not deny the parallel to a dog eating from the table. Rather, she humbly points out that even dogs eat the scraps. Wow, this is humility! In fact, we can be certain that Jesus spoke to her in this somewhat humiliating way because He knew how humble she was and He knew that she would react by letting her humility shine forth so as to manifest her faith. She was not offended by the humble truth of her unworthiness; rather, she embraced it and also sought out the abundant mercy of God despite her unworthiness.
Humility has the potential to unleash faith, and faith unleashes the mercy and power of God. In the end, Jesus speaks for all to hear, “Oh woman, great is your faith!” Her faith was made manifest and Jesus seized the opportunity to honor her for that humble faith.
Reflect, today, upon your own humility before God. How would you have reacted if Jesus spoke this way to you? Would you have been humble enough to acknowledge your unworthiness? If so, would you also have enough faith to cry out for God’s mercy despite your unworthiness? These wonderful qualities go hand in hand (humility and faith) and unleash the mercy of God!
Lord, I am unworthy. Help me to see that. Help me to see that I do not deserve Your grace in my life. But in that humble truth, may I also recognize Your abundance of mercy and never fear to call upon You for mercy. Jesus, I trust in You.
Saint of the Day – Dedication of the Basilica of Saint Mary Major
Source of content: mycatholic.life
GOSPEL READING: Matthew 15:21-28
21 And Jesus went away from there and withdrew to the district of Tyre and Sidon. 22 And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region came out and cried, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely possessed by a demon.” 23 But he did not answer her a word. And his disciples came and begged him, saying, “Send her away, for she is crying after us.” 24 He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” 25 But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.” 26 And he answered, “It is not fair to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” 27 She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” 28 Then Jesus answered her, “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed instantly.
Do you ever feel “put-off” or ignored by the Lord?
This passage (Matthew 15:21) describes the only occasion in which Jesus ministered outside of Jewish territory. (Tyre and Sidon were fifty miles north of Israel and still exist today in modern Lebanon.) A Gentile woman, a foreigner who was not a member of the Jewish people, puts Jesus on the spot by pleading for his help. At first Jesus seemed to pay no attention to her, and this made his disciples feel embarrassed. Jesus does this to test the woman to awaken faith in her.
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?
1 May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, [Selah]
2 that your way may be known upon earth, your saving power among all nations.
3 Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you!
4 Let the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you judge the peoples with equity and guide the nations upon earth. [Selah]
5 Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you!
6 The earth has yielded its increase; God, our God, has blessed us.
7 God has blessed us; let all the ends of the earth fear him!
Daily Quote from the Early Church Fathers: The 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)