I was bewildered by Jesus’ attitude when I read for the first time today’s Gospel. I knew that Jesus was the image of the invisible God and that He was expressing to humanity the attitudes of God such as goodness, kindness, compassion, mercy, understanding, etc. He was always ready to help those who were in need. How comes then that He had such a hard attitude towards the Canaanite woman in today’s Gospel? She exposed Him her problem. His first attitude was just silence. He did not give any answer. Why? Why is God so silent to our prayers? His disciples begged Him to give her what she was asking for. Here He gave a rather surprising answer, “I have been sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel”! The woman did not give up. She knelt and entreated, “Lord, help me”. What a humility! This time, as though He wanted to discourage her, He answered, “It is not fair to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs”. This courageous woman reacted, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table”. The final result is that Jesus could not resist such a great faith! “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you desire”.
To some extent, the experience of the woman in today’s Gospel is similar to ours. At times we have the impression that God is so silent and does not answer our prayers. We experience this especially in difficult moments. Some other times, He seems to answer, but not the way we were expecting. And some times we receive what we had asked for in prayer.
God can test our faith to see how far we believe in Him. Shall we continue to believe in Him even when He seems silent? Some people have lost their faith in difficult situations. When we face the silence of God, when we have the impression that He does not answer according to our expectations, let us not give up. Let us persevere like the Canaanite woman in today’s Gospel. Then we can experience that even in His silence, God loves us and He knows why we are experiencing what we are going through. Let us trust Him whatever happens in our life. How I wish that Jesus would tell each one of us, “your faith is great, let it be done for you as you desire”.
Fr Arsène KAPYA.