Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Canaanite Woman- Even Dogs Eat of the Crumbs

I have lately been following a summit on miracles online, and as I have been doing that I have also been studying the miracles performed by Jesus Christ in the New Testament.

I love this miracle performed by Jesus:

21 ¶Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon.
 22 And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.
 23 But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us.
 24 But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
 25 Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me.
 26 But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs.
 27 And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.
 28 Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.

At first it seems so cruel that Jesus refers to her as a dog.  It is important to remember that Jesus only speaks truth.  He did come to the house of Israel.  He's only speaking truth to her here.  His mission and time was largely focused on the Jews. It is as if when we sin and we come unto Christ and we feel rebuffed by Him for our unworthiness.  But the Canaanite woman persisted.  She asks Him for help, she worships him and ultimately she recognizes the truth in His words, and she shows Him her faith.  It's as if Christ just wanted to see her faith.  He just wanted to draw it out.  When it becomes clear to Him that she is possessed of faith, He cannot refuse to give her what she asks.  We are to be as the Canaanite woman.  Persistent and confident in our prayer.  Asking in faith, showing our faith through our words and actions, regardless of the facts of who we are or what we see, or whoever is around us.  She pushed through all of that.  She pushed through the cultural beliefs, the disciples, her own unworthiness, and accepted with humility this metaphor of her being a dog and still believed in her ability to attain those crumbs.  Even as a dog she was going to get those crumbs.  Jesus gave her her miracle.  

A commentary by Father Erlenbush states:
This woman of Canaan teaches us to pray.
1. With great humility, in that she acknowledges herself to be a dog.
2. With faith, because she calls Christ the son of David, i.e., the Messiah, the God and Saviour promised to the Jews.
3. With modesty because she sets before Christ the right of dogs and her own misery; yet does she not draw from thence the conclusion that Christ should heal her daughter, but leaves that to Him.
4. With prudence, in that she takes hold of Christ by His own words, and gently turns His reasoning against Himself, into an argument for obtaining her desire.
5. With reverence, with religion and devotion, because she made her supplication on her knees.
6. With resignation in that she did not say, ‘Heal my daughter,’ but ‘help me,’ in the manner which shall seem to Thee best.
7. With confidence, because although a Gentile, she had a firm hope that she would be heard by Christ.
8. With ardour.
9. With charity, in that she made intercession for her daughter, as if she were anxious for herself, saying, help me.
10. With constance and perseverance, in that she persisted when she was twice repulsed and became yet more earnest in prayer.
 Taken from

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