Very often, when we pray for something, it seems that the Lord is deaf or He does not listen to us. Bad things happen to us or to our loved ones and the Lord seems to be cold and distant. Is He? Let us meditate on this Sunday’s parable that seems to have a similar scenario.
In this Sunday's gospel passage we hear about a mother and a child—a Canaanite woman, whose daughter is tormented by the evil spirit, is seeking the cure. The situation is dire. The mother has nowhere else to go; she is desperate. So she hears about this ―Jewish rabbi Jesus and decides to seek out His help. But when the Canaanite woman finally is able to come close to Jesus, He, in turn, seems to be indifferent to her pleas. At first, our Blessed Lord does not even pay attention to her crying. Then, when the woman asks Jesus a favor directly, He compares her to puppy dogs. He said to the Canaanite woman that sharing the faith of Israel with pagans would be like throwing good food to the dogs: ―It is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs. The Canaanite woman however is relentless. The humiliation she received from Jesus made her even more zealous and her response even more humble: ―Please, Lord, for even the dogs eat the scraps that fall from the table of their masters. At that moment Jesus praised her faith: ―O woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.
It is one of those few instances, in which our Lord praises someone for her faith. The other time was when a Roman centurion asked for a cure for his servant but expressed his faith in Jesus by saying: ―I’m not worthy that you enter under my roof. Jesus also praised the centurion for his strong faith. In both cases, the people who expressed their faith in Jesus were pagans without prior religious knowledge. Yet they were able to recognize true God acting through Jesus Christ and as a reward received the gift of salvation in Christ.
We too are invited to be persistent in our prayers despite the apparent ―silence of God. Perseverance in prayer and humility ―makes God hear our petitions. It does not matter from what backgrounds we come. What really matters is that we believe in Jesus and humbly accept His terms—not ours—how the healing should occur. Thus, on the one hand, we should be satisfied even with the smallest scraps from the Lord’s table, which are the graces that are much greater than anything this world can offer. On the other hand, our prayers should be more daring and honest, putting everything on the one card, that is, the total abandonment to the Divine providence.
As St. Teresa of Avila expressed it beautifully in her poem:
Let nothing disturb you,
Let nothing frighten you,
All things are passing away.
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things,
Whoever has God lacks nothing;
God alone suffices.
I wish you all a blessed week.
Fr. Janusz Mocarski, Administrator