August 19, 2017

20th Sunday - A (August 20, 2017)


“Lord, Help Me”

While reading this passage, we are often shocked at Jesus’ seemingly insulting words to the woman.

Why could the woman not feel offended?

There are at least two details in this passage that can help us to understand her attitude.  More importantly, we might better appreaciate the source of her courage.

First, Matthew tells just that Jesus himself goes to the region of Tyre and Sidon (top left corner on the map).  This is the region of the gentiles.  And the woman herself is from that area. 

Second, Jesus speaks to the woman.

We have here a devout Jew, one the woman recognizes as the Promised Savior of the Jews and Lord, going to the region of the gentile of his own. 

Moreover, he speaks to her.  This would have rendered him unclean. 

Other Jewish religious leaders would not have done that.

Jesus takes the initiative to reach out to the religious and ethnic outcasts of his time.  In fact, he reaches out to people who for generations have been the Jews’ enemies.

This passage, therefore, is really about Jesus’ reaching out to the gentiles and outcasts.  Jesus’ attitude gives the woman the courage to approach and appeal to him.

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