For Sunday, August 20th, 2023
At that time, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. And behold, a Canaanite woman of that district came and called out, “Have pity on me, Lord, Son of David! My daughter is tormented by a demon.” But Jesus did not say a word in answer to her. Jesus’ disciples came and asked him, “Send her away, for she keeps calling out after us.” He said in reply, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” But the woman came and did Jesus 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.” Then Jesus said to her in reply, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.” And the woman’s daughter was healed from that hour.
We often want God to take problems away immediately. He knows the right time, however, and waits for us to arrive at the right disposition of receptivity. When Jesus met this Gentile mother, initially he does not respond to her plea for help.
If we have faith in Jesus, why does he not just solve our problems right away? Why does he allow us to suffer? In this case, if Jesus is waging war against the demons, why does he not jump at the opportunity to cast a demon out of a poor child? It seems counterproductive to his mission to let people be possessed and tormented by evil spirits. The woman persists as she begs for mercy, saying, “Lord, help me.” In this, she provides an important example. God often makes us wait so that we can come to the right interior disposition. Rather than taking away our problems, he wants to fix things within us and waits for the right response of the heart.
The Gentile woman persists. After she brings her request, she was met with silence from God and resistance from the disciples. Throughout this difficult test, her faith was not shaken. This must be our model for prayer. When you ask the Lord for help, you must remain persistent in your pleading, and you must not waver in your faith. At times, you will not hear God’s response to your prayer. Men may dismiss you and attempt to dissuade you. God may even say that your favor should not be granted at this time or he may have something else in mind that is even better. But whenever you pray, you must follow the example of the woman in today’s Gospel and be persistent in your intercession and constant in your faith.
In your prayer today, recall any prayers that have gone without a response. Remain constant in your righteous petitions and firm in your faith.
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