By Kathleen Bordo Crombie
“Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David.” ~ Matthew 15:22
As Jesus and his disciples walked through a Gentile region, a Canaanite woman cried out repeatedly, begging that he have mercy on her and release her daughter from demonic possession. Jesus replied to the woman that he “was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
Her Canaanite ancestors once possessed the Promised Land before being conquered by the Israelites. The Canaanites and Jews despised each other, yet this woman swallowed her pride and humbled herself before Jesus in the presence of fellow Gentiles. She called Jesus “Lord” and “Son of David.” She knew who Jesus was and that he possessed divine power to release her possessed daughter. This Gentile-Canaanite woman had acquired a desperately deep faith in a vulnerable situation and would not be silenced.
But Jesus took his time to respond to her, and the disciples were clearly annoyed by her persistence – she kept calling out just the same.
God Can Do All Things
I have great respect for this woman. As a very marginal Catholic many years ago, I was on my knees begging God to heal my son from Hodgkin’s disease. I didn’t know where else to go or what to do, but I did know that God could do all things. And believe me, I was persistent, just like this Gentile woman! There are times in our lives when we decidedly turn to God in our desperation and vulnerability, and that’s when the Holy Spirit rushes in, IF the door to our hearts and souls are open, even if just a crack, to receive God’s love, mercy, and healing.
Persistence in Prayer
Jesus tells the begging woman that it is not right to give the “children’s food” (his ministry) he brought for the Jews and give it to the Gentiles. Undeterred, she replied, “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from the master’s table.” What a great comeback! Jesus immediately proclaimed in front of the Jews and Gentiles present, “Woman, great is your faith!” Then he had mercy on her and released her daughter from the demons within.
Praise God, this woman’s faithful persistence was rewarded. Praise God; my son was healed. Praise God he took pity on me and the Gentile woman as we begged God’s mercy for our children. Did we deserve such great gifts? No … no one does. But we serve a loving and merciful God who tells us to believe in him and be persistent in our prayers. I’m counting on that!
Lord Jesus, Son of David, has pity on us and our families. May we continue to be persistent in our prayer life as we seek your divine will in all things.
Call to Action
Can you offer prayer for someone’s conversion, return to the Catholic faith, emotional or spiritual healing? God hears every prayer we offer but answers in his way and in his time. Be persistent in your prayer!
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