Just a crumb will do!
9 August 2017
The gospels record fascinating stories of Jesus’ interaction with people with each encounter revealing something about His nature. In today’s Gospel, a Canaanite woman makes quite a scene pursuing Jesus.
At first look it seems that He is unhelpful. What’s going on? Jesus’ reply to this needy woman seems harsh and insensitive. Why won’t he help? Is it because she is a Canaanite woman and that she is not one of His people?
We are told in the scripture that Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. He was trying to escape notice and to rest. The woman would have had to search for Him. She was desperate and at the end of her tether.
She cries out to Jesus, using the messianic title “Son of David” and begs Jesus to heal her daughter who is tormented by a demon.
He does not respond.
But she does not give up.
Whether it’s in pity or just to keep her quiet, the disciples let her in to the house in which they are staying. She now has full access to Jesus; the disciples have unwittingly, fulfilled their evangelistic role.
The woman now makes her request and Jesus responds with a mini-parable
“It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs.”
She seemingly takes no offence, quickly agreeing with Jesus -“You are absolutely right Lord, I do not want to interrupt that…In fact, I want you to do that so abundantly so that some of it ‘falls off the table’ to me.
This amazing statement amounts to believing that the miracle she needs is a simple ‘crumb-size’ work for the Son of David!
Her behavior certainly contrasts with that of the Pharisees and Sadducees. As with the woman at the well (Jn 4:4-42), it’s an outsider that publicly acknowledges Jesus’ identity.
Her proclamation of faith in Israel’s messiah was the response that Jesus sought. It explains to His disciples, (and to us) why after His resurrection He will send them not just to the people of Israel but also to the Gentiles – to us!
Jesus creates a situation that leads the woman to a more informed faith, a more precise hope, and the disciples to a greater appreciation of their role and of their privilege.
It also challenges us to recognize Jesus’ power and His willingness to meet our needs.