“Let the children be fed first. For it is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs.” “Lord, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s scraps.”This Gospel reading has always confused me until now, when I was forced to research this coded conversation that Jesus has with this non-Jew mother. Here Jesus is putting her in her place, but her faith in Him surpasses His apparent expectations of her. Referring to her as a dog is pretty insulting. Not what you would expect from our Lord! But she quickly comes back at Him with all her faith in Him, without being insulted, and tells him that even a poor non-Jew like herself can have faith. If you put this conversation into today’s layman terms it would read something like: Jesus: Let the believers be fed first. For it is not right to take my mercy from the believers and give it to the non-believers. Woman: But even the non-believers eat from the believers’ scraps. Even the “non-believers” glean from the believers and so are worthy of your mercy. Or something like that, anyway. As His children, chosen and loved, we all have His mercy at our beck and call. We should not be afraid to ask for this whenever we need it. This mother was desperate for her child to be freed from the evil that held her. As a mother myself of a child who is struggling with her faith, and feeling at a loss to help her in her journey, I am this woman at Jesus’ door pleading for His mercy for my child. Blessed are we, who have such faith in our Triune God!
Ponder:Has this conversation confused you? Having some clarity helps to ease being reluctant to ask for help when life gets tough. Are you afraid to ask for Jesus's mercy when you need it?
Pray:Dear Jesus, help me to know Your merciful heart and rely on it whenever I struggle with life. Help those who struggle, like my daughter, with their faith. In your name, Jesus Christ, my savior, I pray. Amen.
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About the Author
Ebeth Weidner, a Master Catechist and cradle Catholic who considers herself a Catholic information junkie, writes from her heart about the faith and hope she finds in the Catholic Church. She is the author of “A Catholic Mom Climbing the Pillars” blog. She is the wife of a research science Professor and mom to 3 great young adults people living on the coastal side of North Carolina.