20th SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME August 20, 2017

"O woman, great is your faith! Let it be done

for you as you wish." This woman was an outside.

She was a Canaanite, not an Israelite, and as

such she would have been considered ritually

unclean. But she approached Jesus nonetheless

and asked for His help. And Jesus used this

opportunity to teach His disciples an important


In the verses directly before today's passage,

Jesus had told Peter that what defiles a person

comes from the Heart, not from ignoring external

purity practices. Then, Jesus traveled with His

disciples from Galilee to the region of Tyre and

Sideon where they wre much more likely to encounter

someone considered to be unclean.

At first it appeared the Jesus wasn't going to

acknowledge the woman who begged for help. His

comment, "It is not right to take the food of

the children and throw it to the dogs," was a

common comparison between Jews (the children) and

Canaanites (the dogs). But, in fact, Jesus said

this only to go right ahead and break this social

code! He showed by His actions that it did not

matter whether someone was Jewish or not, what

mattered was the faith in a person's heart.

And this woman proved to Jesus and the doubting

disciples that she had great faith. How many

others would have even approached Jesus to ask

for His help? How many others would have per-

severed when He appeared unresponsive? By

pausing in His response, and first mentioning

the standard reply, Jesus gave this woman the

opportunity to demonstrate her great faith.

and then, He answered her request and praised

her exraordinary faith. What a lesson for his

prrejudiced disciples! And what a lesson for

us, both to persevere in faith, and never to

judge others on mere appearances.