Message for Sunday, August 16, 2020

Brothers & Sisters:

I share with you from the website :

There is a lesson, a very necessary one, for all of us in this episode of Christ’s public life.  It is in the necessity of perseverance in our prayers of petition.  Prayer is an essential part of our Christian life, and the essential part of prayer is that of adoration and thanksgiving, but prayer of petition has a big part in our daily prayers.  We have so many spiritual and temporal needs, needs which we cannot provide  by ourselves,  Christ himself has told us to ask him for these needs:  “ask and you shall receive.”

Do we ask with the fervor and perseverance which prove that we have “great faith”?  Tha faith is the proof which Christ needs before he grants our requests.  The Canaanite woman of whom we have just heard is for us an example of that deep-seated faith and trust in Christ’s power and Christ’s goodness.  Even though he ignored her she continued to beseech him, and when he answered with what seemed a direct refusal  her faith and trust did not waiver.  She answered his reason for refusal with another statement which showed that the gtranting of her petition would not in any way interefere with or impede his primary task, his mission to his father’s chosen people.  This was the proof of greath faith which he required.  He granted her request.

We must imitate and learn from this pagan mother.  Her love for her child made her ready to undergo every hardship or suffering for the restoration to health of her loved one. When we turn to Christ in our needs is our faith in him as sincere and unwavering as was this woman’s?  No doubt it often is, and yet we do not get the desired answer.  As Christians we know that our particular request may not always be for our good, or for the final good of the person for whom we are praying.  In that case, the good God will not grant what would be to our eternal disadvantage.  But if our prayer is sincere and persevering – we shall always get an answer, and one which is better than what we ask for. 

Ever wonder why Jesus would lead this mother through a humbling and difficult process before granting her request?  While His response does seem harsh, the lesson of persistent faith displayed through time of testing is a common theme in Scripture.  Abraham was tested by being asked to sacrifice his son Isaac.  Jacob wrestled with God.  Joshua had to conquer fortified cities before claiming the Promised Land.  David fought Goliath and lived in exile before becoming king.  The gospels record several stories where Jesus stated the disciples.  Jesus said we must “ask, seek, and knock”  if we desire to have our prayers answered.  Peter wrote in 1 Peter 1:7 that God tests our faith to develop in us a faith that is greater than gold.

We must keep in perspective that having a healthy child did not eliminate all of her other struggles.  She was still a Syrophoenican woman living in a male dominated and a racially sensitive culture as an ostracized single mother.  Jesus used this encounter to develop a deep courageous faith that would sustain her for the rest of her life not just for a one-time thing.

Think on these things!