Wednesday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time
(Numbers 13:1-2.25-14.1.26a-29a.34-35; Matthew 15:21-28)
Today’s gospel not only shows the value of persistent prayer but also the valor of a woman who seeks the welfare of her child. We must take care not to be scandalized by the remark of Jesus comparing non-Jews to dogs. He only means that his mighty works are not done to impress people. Rather, they are meant to foster a living faith in God’s care for His people. As the woman shows that faith, Jesus readily grants her request.
Rather than contrast the urgency of the woman’s plea with the hesitation of Jesus to help her, it is more instructive to note the difference between the disciple’s desire to dismiss the woman and Jesus’ willingness to listen to her. Like the disciples we may not want to attend to people who come begging for assistance. It is true that granting them what they ask often is not prudent and sometimes not possible. But we do not have to dismiss them and much less ignore them. We could listen to their needs, respond in truth and courtesy, and pray for their welfare. Such actions are expected of us if we are truly the Lord’s servants.