Wednesday of the 18th Week of the Year

Matt 15:21-28

The Canaanite Woman’s Faith


In one small barrio in Agusan del Sur lived 50 families belonging to seven different religious affiliations. When I was assigned there as a newly ordained priest I noticed that the people in the barrio attended all religious services of the seven different religions. When I asked them, they explained: “We respect and support each other here. We value any religious held here because we believe their God and our God is the same. So, we join them in their religious celebration and they also join ours.” They did not regard differences in belief as cause for division.

The Jews and the Gentiles, in the Old Testament, were adversaries. The Jews considered themselves as God’s chosen ones and they regarded the Gentiles as “unclean.” Today’s gospel describes the reluctance of Jesus in granting the request of the Canaanite or non-Jewish woman because she is not part of his missionary domain as he says: ‘My mission is only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”  But the woman takes this statement as an invitation and did Him homage with the plea: “Help me, Lord,” and she demonstrates her faith. The humility, sincerity, faith and perseverance of the Canaanite woman convince Jesus and her request is granted.

This gospel illustrates the universality of God’s will and love for all people. In other words, all who believe in Jesus are members of His church. God has eliminated all divisions. Anyone who believes in God must give due respect and support to other believers in Him, no matter what race or religion. (Fr. Peru T. Dayag, SVD Bible Diary 2002)


Ronnie, a friend working in the Senate of the Philippines, was diagnosed for lesions in the brain. He braved it all to get the doctors to tell him this truth. Then he remembered his youngest of two sons. And he realized that if he goes away so fast, his son would live as he did: fatherless since he was 7 years old. Then he prayed: “Lord. It’s difficult to live without a father. I would not like the same thing happening to my youngest son. Please, let me live long enough to see my son grow having a father.”

I’ve often see this prayer “work”, i.e., answered prayers, in many more who share their faith experience with me. When I pray not for myself but for another if only to make that other experience God’s love the answered prayer shows God’s compassion. This is what He is saying in the readings. There is forgiveness in store for all who convert to Him. His heart is no so numb as to appear sadistic to sinners and those classified as outcasts in society.

If ever Jesus appears like he had insulted the woman in the gospel story for today, it may have been a way to test the sincerity of the woman. As she showed bravely for her daughter’s sake, taking in the “insult” hurled at her, it seems that Jesus’ heart was moved. This will be His own action for those He was sent for: insults and rejection on the cross for all of us, if only to show His love that gives life, eternal life.

Lord, show us the way in life. Let us not only pray for our needs but also for the needs of those whom you gave us to love in Christ our Lord. Amen. (Fr. Bernard Collera, SVD Bible Diary 2004)


My sister married a man who is a quiet type and appeared to be responsible. For some years they were living near our house. Later, they decided to move to the husband’s place which is quite far. For a few months they took time to visit us; but the visit gradually stopped.

When I was in another town for my studies in college my cousin told me that my Ate separated from her husband and she went back to our family with her children. Worried, i went home and was shocked to see her full of bruises on her face and other parts of her body. Her husband had acquired many vices, became irresponsible and brutal to her. Aside from being a battered wife, she was also a victim of discrimination among her in-laws.

Thank God, she regained peace now that she is back with our family. Being a single parent she works hard in order to give the best to her children, but she is happy.

There are many women today who have the same plight as my sister – battered wives, victims of discrimination. This is an age-old problem. In the time of Jesus women were treated low in society, even regarded as outcasts especially if they did not belong to the Chosen people.

The Canaanite woman in today’s gospel experienced being discriminated and rejected, even by Jesus for awhile. Thanks to her faith, humility and persistence Jesus saw the nobility in her and granted her wish with accompanying praise. The message of this gospel text: The love of God is for all – man, woman and child, poor and rich, black and white. There is no room for discrimination in the heart of God. (Sr. Doyet Luarca, SSpS Bible Diary 2005)


Today’s gospel passage is very touching for one main reason – our Lord Himself experienced His own conversion. All along Jesus thought that his mission was only to the Jews. Well, that was the case ‘til he met the Canaanite woman. It is Jesus’ conversion, not from sinfulness to righteousness but from narrow view of his mission to a much wider and more universal one, that the Good News is for all and not only for the Jews. It is worth noting that it is only this passage in all the gospels that speaks of our Lord being outside of Jewish territory.

For me, the gospel episode of today speaks so much of a God who can change. Very significantly, Jesus experienced a change in perspective triggered mainly by an experience demanding his compassion and love. Truly, our God has become human and thus one who can be touched by what he encounters.

As Christians in today’s world, we have to be always ready to be touched by what we encounter in our daily life. A real Christian is one who is sensitive rather than calloused, open-eyed rather than blind and compassionate rather than hard-hearted. He/she is always willing to be moved and to be changed, of course for the better, thereby acting in love whenever a situation confronts him/her to lend a helping hand. (Fr. Emmanuel Menguito, SVD Bible Diary 2006)


Have you been rejected? Psychologists would say that the most painful experience one can encounter is no other than rejection. Rejection can stifle the spontaneity of a person. It can even damage one’s self worth, especially if the person has low self-confidence, or even worst, it can make the person angry and unreasonable, resorting to untoward incidents.

The Canaanite woman in the gospel must have been hurt so much by the seemingly indifferent attitude of Jesus and the very harsh words of the disciples. But Jesus must have a reason in treating her that way. Perhaps, he wanted to bring out the best in her. And sure enough, the woman transcended the common human reaction to rejection and discouragement because of love. More than faith, the woman loved her daughter so much that she was willing to do anything even to the extent of facing humiliation. What an expression of true love, a motherly love! Next, indeed, to the love of God is the love of a mother.

In the Canaanite woman, Jesus found the expression of love par excellence, and so he said: “Woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.” And her daughter was healed from that moment.

Have you tried expressing your love to somebody to that extent? Have you tried swallowing your pride so that others may receive a favor or may live? “Lord, make us TRUE instruments of your love!” (Fr. Gerry Paat, SVD Bible Diary 2007)


“How many sides are there in a ball, Father?” a small boy was kind of testing me. Then he rightly away added, “If you can’t answer it, you will have to give me five pesos.” I smiled at the boy’s frankness and I said, “I think a ball has four sides.” The boy jumped and shouted, “Wrong! A ball has only two sides: the inside and the outside! Now, you have to give me five pesos!” I insisted that a ball has four sides. “Added to your two sides, inside and outside, there are also your side and my side. That makes four sides,” I said.  He looked surprised with what I said, but I still gave him, not five but ten pesos. I knew what he would do next. He would run fast to the store and buy some small chocolate bars, and then run home to share and enjoy them with his younger brother who could not walk around because of polio.

Jesus in the gospel sounded as if the woman to think deeper and to fight for her wish. It is seldom that we see Jesus denying help to someone calling out to Him. If Jesus did not right away extend his healing hand to her, he must have seen something else in her that first needed healing.

In our own lives, let us look back, perhaps count the times when the Lord seemed to ignore our plea. The Lord has good reasons when he does so. It usually points to our own inner selves that needed healing. But let us keep calling! Very soon we will realize how close we are to Him, who knows everything and who has all powers of heaven and earth. (Fr. Carlos Lariosa, SVD Bible Diary 2009)


August 3, 2016 Wednesday

An eye-catching headline appeared under the section of Health and Family –“Health wise, women are the stronger sex.”

This might apply to the pagan woman in today’s gospel story. She begs Jesus to expel the evil spirit from her daughter and is mentally and emotionally determined to get what she wants fromJesus even though it means stooping like a beggar before the Lord.

She is undeterred by Jesus’ admonition: “Let the sons of the household satisfy themselves at the table first. It is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs.” Her answer: “Please Lord, even the dogs under the table eat the family’s leavings.” The more the woman is humbled, the more she believes. The strong-willed woman finally gets her rewards with an instant healing.

Now it’s not anymore the issue of which is the stronger sex – a woman or a man. Before the Lord we all have needs. Whether you are a man or a woman, these questions apply to both – What attitude do you have when you put your needs before God? Do you do it with humility and faith like the woman or do you act with arrogance and pride? When God delays in answering your requests, do you immediately feel rejected and even begin to doubt his providing you with your needs?

The example of the Syro-Phoenician mother teaches us that before the Lord we don’t have to present ourselves with the heavy baggage of unhealthy attitudes. To please the Lord we need to be happy and optimistic. This in turn insures a healthy relationship with Him. After all, we are God’s children and he knows what is best for us. (Fr. Noel T. Rebancos, SVD Chaplain – College of the Holy Spirit Manila Bible Diary 2016)


PERSISTENT TRUST. Do you see yourself in this gospel scene? Where are you? Who are you? With whom do you identify? Are you the Canaanite woman, who was very aggressive and insistent? Not for her sake but to the benefit the one she so dearly loves? Have you experienced what it is to risk being humiliated, to be put in hot water, even if it would not benefit you, but for the sake of somebody you love so dearly? The Canaanite woman risked being rejected. She risked being rebuked. She risked being sent away but she took the risk because she loved so much. Are you that woman?

Are you the daughter who is sick and helpless? You want so much to speak, to play, to stand, to run, but are unable to do all these because your body won’t let you. Are you that girl right now? Do you feel that every time you move you are caught in quicksand? Do you feel that whatever you do is wrong? Each time you do anything it just complicates the matter. You say something and the problem gets worse? Are you that girl?

How about the apostles? Do you see yourself in them? The apostles wanted to be more comfortable. They wanted to live a life of convenience. Therefore, they wanted the noisy woman out. They wanted to send her away because she was causing too much trouble. The apostles simply wanted to focus on the Lord and they did not care if somebody is in need. All they wanted was their comfort, their peace, no matter how restricted, no matter how small. Are you that apostle? Are you the apostles turning away people because you are just sick and tired of people who create noise in your life?

Where are you? Who are you in the gospel? The aggressive, makulit mother or the helpless daughter? Are the aggressive apostles who wanted to keep Jesus all for themselves? I understand that it might be hard for you to answer the question because very often we are all three. Very often we can be the woman who would risk everything mindless of what other people would say, the demands on the budget or of our time. We call it expressed love. Sometimes we can be that daughter, helpless, not knowing what to do and everything we do worsens the situation. Sometimes we can be like the apostles, too, concerned about ourselves that we forget that we must break down the barriers and move on.

Today, let us ask the Lord for three graces – the grace to be persistent in loving, the grace to be trusting in our helplessness and the grace to break the boundaries of our love. (Bp Soc Villegas Love Like Jesus p. 73-74)



v. 23: “Send her away, for she keeps calling out after us.” Unfortunately, some Christians show this attitude at times. For them, people are a nuisance to their service and worship. For JESUS, everyone is welcome. If you can’t give people help, at least show them your kindness (Fr. Ching OP).


Wednesday, August 5, 2015

WEDNESDAY OF THE 18TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME (YEAR B) – MATEO 15:21-28. ADUNA BAY PAGPIHIGPIHIG ANG DIOS? Sa pag-ingon ni Hesus, “Gipadala ako ngadto sa nawalang mga karnero sa nasod sa Israel”, gipadayag niya ang pagtoo sa mga Hudiyo. Ang mga Hudiyo man gud naghunahuna nga sila lamang ang pinanggang katawhan sa Dios. Ang babaye nga niduol ug nagpakilooy kang Hesus  para sa kaayohan sa iyang anak dili uyon ning maong mentalidad. Siya nga taga-Canaan, giisip sa mga Hudiyo nga mahugaw sama sa mga iro. Apan nagtoo siya nga dili ingon niini ang pagtan-aw sa Dios kaniya. Bisan gihagit ni Hesus ang iyang pagtoo, nagpabilin siyang masaligon nga ang Dios nahigugma sa tanang mga tawo, dili lamang sa mga Hudiyo. Ug si Hesus nagmatuod sa pagtoo sa babaye; gihatag niya kaniya ang iyang gipangayo. Indeed, “God loves everyone whether we like it or not.” Posted by Abet Uy


Wednesday, August 3, 2016

WEDNESDAY OF THE 18TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME (YEAR C) – MATEO 15:21-28. ADUNA BAY PAGPIHIGPIHIG ANG DIOS? Sa pag-ingon ni Hesus, “Gipadala ako ngadto sa nawalang mga karnero sa nasod sa Israel”, gipadayag niya ang pagtoo sa mga Hudiyo, nga naghunahuna nga sila lamang ang pinanggang katawhan sa Dios. Ang babaye nga niduol ug nagpakilooy kang Hesus  para sa kaayohan sa iyang anak dili uyon ning maong mentalidad. Siya nga taga-Canaan, giisip sa mga Hudiyo nga mahugaw sama sa mga iro. Apan nagtoo siya nga dili ingon niini ang pagtan-aw sa Dios kaniya. Bisan gihagit ni Hesus ang iyang pagtoo, nagpabilin siyang masaligon nga ang Dios nahigugma sa tanang tawo, apil ang dili Hudiyo. Ug si Hesus nagmatuod sa pagtoo sa babaye; gihatag niya kaniya ang iyang gipangayo. Sakto ang gisulat: “Jesus doesn’t only love you. He loves everyone you know. Treat them well.”Posted by Abet Uy


August 5, 2015

Wednesday of the18th Week in Ordinary Time B

Num 13: 1-2, 25—14: 1, 26-30, 34-35, Mt 15: 21-28

“Woman, you have great faith! Let your desire be granted.”

We are people coming to the Lord everyday in prayer. We believe in God and we are God fearing people. But have we ever heard the voice of Jesus telling us – man/woman, your faith is great!!

We come to Jesus with many prayers – very often with intentions to be gratified, desires to be met! But not all our intentions and desires are resolved. Life is a mixture of up and downs! Pain and pleasure, success and failures! We encounter problems! Some may have many and some have only few. It may be a sickness, the death of my only child or my beloved better-half, loss of a job, famine, economic disasters, or anything that will truly test our faith. In the midst of our problems, we need someone to relay upon, a shoulder to cry out my pains.  We need someone we can turn to for solution. Jesus is the only refuge where I could submit all the problems and desires! Jesus is offering his shoulder to lean upon. Remember the very consoling words of Jesus – Come to me, all you who labour and overburdened, and I will give your rest. Shoulder my yoke and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Mt.11:28).

Based upon Mt.11:28, we often preach ‘to run to God’ and there, we will have answer! Sometimes in the midst our problems, we may be so frustrated and disappointed and we may be at the verge deciding to live or die. We may not need Him to lift every burden but just to give a support.  We may not ask Him to move every mountain but the highest.  We don’t need God to give us the whole bread but just a crumb. Yet, we feel left without answer!!

Yes, that is the situation we are looking at the gospel passage of today.  Jesus is approached by ‘a Canaanite woman who is a mother of a girl who was under the spell of evil spirit’. It is very clear from the passage that she was so desperate – “and suddenly out came a Canaanite woman from that district and started ‘shouting’. She needs something in her life. She did not want to lose something precious in her life and moreover, she did not want her daughter suffer the torment of the evil spirit.  She comes to the Lord and as she does, she is not asking for the whole bread, she is just asking for a crumb.  She knows that a little crumb is better than nothing. Her prayer was a prayer from the depth of her heart, from a broken heart of a mother.

She might have come to Jesus with much surety and hope that Jesus could save the child and she was determined to get her child the help she needed. Perhaps she had heard about how Jesus had healed everyone who came to him with all manner of diseases; about raising the dead to life, about how He had opened the eyes of the blind and unstopped the ears of the deaf; about how He had driven the demons from other people.  She might have heard about how Jesus delivered the man possessed by a legion of demons. She might have said, “If He can deliver that man from a legion of demons, surely He can deliver my daughter from the grip of one devil!” She was so desperate and she saw Jesus as her only hope!

But to see that her need was met and her daughter was healed, this woman had to overcome many obstacles, primarily two existential predicaments that ‘she is a woman standing in the midst of men’ and moreover she is a ‘Cannanite woman’.  It seemed that she met resistance to her request at every turn.  Yet, she persisted until she achieved her goal.  She faced the obstacles one after another and overcame them by faith and hope. She had to overcome race as she was a Canaanite and not a Jewish woman; she had to overcome rejection both from Jesus and his disciples, this Canaanite woman, even though she knew that the Jewish society of that time was discriminating her, she overcame this obstacle with great faith. She had to overcome reality, the reality that her own religion men and society did not seem to care about her or her situation at all.  It must have appeared to her that her situation was hopeless.

Today’s gospel passage tells us that never slam the door of hope and faith in God. The obstacles that were thrown up by the Lord Jesus were not placed there to discourage and defeat this lady.  The obstacles were placed there to mature her faith.  If you observe the passage carefully you will see how Jesus took this woman and her small faith and led her along and helped her to grow deeper in her faith.

She matures in her faith gradually and steadily and at the end Jesus declares – Woman, you have great faith!!! What more recognition do we need to get and hear!!

Dear friends, walk to Jesus with faith and hope even when we feel situations are hopeless. Believe with St. Paul – “God works with those who love him, those who have been called in accordance with his purpose, and turns everything to their good’ (Rom.8:28). Believe that He knows our needs and what is good for us, though he may not grant all our ‘desires’.


Daring Doggedness

August 5, 2015 (readings)

Wednesday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Matthew 15: 21-28

At that time Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. And behold, a Canaanite woman of that district came and called out, “Have pity on me, Lord, Son of David! My daughter is tormented by a demon.” But he did not say a word in answer to her. His disciples came and asked him, “Send her away, for she keeps calling out after us.” He said in reply, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” But the woman came and did him homage, saying, “Lord, help me.” He said in reply, “It is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs.” She said, “Please, Lord, for even the dogs eat the scraps that fall from the table of their masters.” Then Jesus said to her in reply, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.” And her daughter was healed from that hour.

Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus, I believe you want me to have faith in you, faith that hearkens to your words without any second guessing. I hope in your words, not relying solely on my own strength or reasoning. I love you. You continue to astonish me by showing me that your ways are not my ways.

Petition: Lord, fill my heart with gratitude and trust even when those I love suffer.

  1. My daughter… “My daughter is tormented by a demon.” Sufferings of strangers stir our compassion. But when a son or daughter suffers, anguish can reach fever pitch. Imagine the agony of the mother in this Gospel passage. Imagine the near-physical pain she felt in the depths of her heart. However, her love nourished her hope and propelled her to seek out Christ. When those we love suffer, we need the same wisdom to seek the Lord.
  2. Unfathomed Dimensions:Only a mother or father knows the depths of his or her love for a child: “Words cannot express.…” We truly understand love when it involves people we know and love. Contemplate the passion of our Lord Jesus Christ. Imagine the false accusations, scourging, humiliations and the crucifixion. Now imagine your own son or daughter, or mom or dad or loved one, suffering the same fate. Christ’s passion takes on a new dimension.
  3. Our Title to God’s Grace:“Please, Lord, for even the dogs eat the scraps that fall from the table of their masters.” Faith and humility move Christ’s heart. How easily we adopt a spoiled-child mentality, believing that we deserve more. “The earth doesn’t owe you a living,” a sage once said. “It was here before you.” How much happier we are when we acknowledge our littleness and unworthiness, when we recognize our status as creatures of God who gives us life, breath and every beat of our heart. All we possess is a gift of his creative love. How happy we are when we are grateful and let him know this a thousand times a day.

Conversation with Christ: Lord, I will praise and thank you a thousand times and in a thousand ways for all you do for me. Even sufferings, I know, come from your hand for my greater good, although I may not always perceive the good at that moment. Give me the gratitude, faith and trust to accept my cross and rejoice in your creative love for me.

Resolution: I will thank the Lord repeatedly throughout the day.

© 1980-Present. The Legion of Christ, Incorporated. All rights reserved. Reproduced with Permission of Copyright Owner.


August 3, 2016

REFLECTION: In order to understand the depth of today’s gospel scene, we have to notice a few details.

First, Jesus and the Twelve are traveling outside of Palestine, in modern Lebanon, therefore in pagan territory, where Jews are required to have no contact with the local population.

Second, Jesus’ mission is to announce the Good News of the Kingdom to the Chosen People of Israel, not to pagans. And so, Israel is his sole concern. Later on, he will eventually send his disciples to all the world (Mt 28:16-20), but now is the time of Israel.

Third, since in the end Jesus does indeed answer the petition of the woman, it is clear that his initial two refusals to do so are merely meant to test the woman’s faith and to induce her to deepen her faith by overcoming Jesus’ resistance—to the utter delight of Jesus!

Fourth, the woman is not asking anything for herself, and this makes her request even more poignant, and her courage even more daring. In her love for her daughter, she is ready to stoop like a dog under Jesus’ table.

One of the lessons of this story is that, often enough, God delays answering our prayers so that we may grow in faith.


See Today’s Readings:  Year I,   Year II

Back to: Wednesday of the 18th Week of the Year

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