The Woman Jesus Ignored (at first)
Pastor’s Column 20th Sunday Ordinary Time August 20, 2017
In this Sunday’s gospel (Matthew 15:21-28) we meet a very persistent pagan woman who keeps asking and asking Jesus for a healing of her dying daughter. Jesus responds by essentially appearing to give her the silent treatment, and then finally answering in a way that indicated he was unwilling to help her.
The woman, however, would not give up, because she loved her daughter so much and knew Jesus could heal her if he so wanted. Jesus ends this by commending her faith and making it clear he had been testing her. By appearing to delay in answering, Jesus encouraged her to greater and greater acts of faith, which Jesus finally revealed pleased God immensely. She ends up getting one of the greatest compliments from Jesus in scripture! What can we learn from her experience when our own prayers seem to fall on deaf ears:
• She is persistent.
• She does not give in to discouragement, no matter what happens, even when she feels she is being ignored by the Lord.
• She is deeply motivated and driven by a fierce love for her daughter, and her request is not for herself, but for her child.
• She is humble, knowing her place, but also bold in her requests. She is not afraid to ask the Lord for great things.
• She is witty and uses her intelligence in her conversations with Christ (when he finally begins speaking to her!).
• She has great faith, using complimentary and faith-filled titles for the Lord in her addresses to him.
• She is diplomatic and always courteous to Jesus, even when things don’t go her way.
• She knows she is being deliberately tested and that Jesus is not being unkind.
• She receives in the end everything she asks for and one of the highest compliments Jesus ever gave someone.