Wednesday of the 18th week in ordinary time year A
Numbers 13:1-2.25-14:1.26-29.34-35 Mat.15:21-28
Theme: Humility and persistence
Today the church in England celebrates the optional memorial of St. Theresa Benedicta of the cross, virgin and Martyr as a feast. But our reflection for today is for the day. In the gospel reading of today from St. Mathew, we see the scenario that plays out between Jesus and the Canaanite woman, who came to plead with Jesus to restore her sick daughter to health. In the request she made to Jesus, we see persistence and humility. She did not allow the silence of Jesus or his response that sounded demeaning to discourage her from pleading with Jesus. In humility, when she came before Jesus, she knelt to make her request. She was determined to ensure that Jesus restore her daughter to good health. At the end, Jesus pointed out the fact that she was a woman of faith.
In the Canaanite woman, I find three wonderful virtues that we need in our lives as followers of Christ and will be very useful to us. They are humility, persistence, and faith. We are all encouraged today in our liturgy to make honest and sincere effort to apply these virtues in our daily lives and in our relationship with God. It is possible that some of us would have given up when Jesus was silent, or get angry with the statement of Jesus Christ, “It is not fair to take children’s bread and throw it to the dogs”. In all of this, the Canaanite woman remained calm, because she knew what she wanted and had faith that Jesus can heal her daughter. It is possible that her calmness or patience also contributed towards Jesus listening to her request.
We see the anger of the Lord against the people of Israel in todays 1st reading. They always forget the fact that God is accompanying them in their journey, and they continue to complain and murmur against God. In anger today, the Lord pointed out the fact that those from twenty years who have murmured against him are going to die in the wilderness. The action of the Israelites has shown repeatedly that they do not have faith in God, not minding all that he has done for them since they left Egypt. Our prayer today is that God increase our faith, especially in times of difficulties and the challenges of life, in the name of the father and of the son and of the holy spirit. Amen. Peace be with you.