The Canaanite woman in today’s gospel reading presents a challenge to our faith in Jesus. At first, it seems that Jesus won’t help her as he simply ignores her. Then, he seems to insult her based on the fact that she is a Canaanite and not a Jew saying: “It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.” How could Jesus, who preaches love of neighbor, treat someone this way?
Perhaps he was testing the Canaanite woman’s faith. Perhaps Jesus is testing our faith in him. Perhaps Jesus has a change of heart himself and moves from ignoring and rebuffing the woman to praising her faith and granting the healing she seeks. Whatever the case may be, in the end, Jesus recognizes the woman’s faith and accepts her with love–a love that heals, both figuratively and literally.
The line that stands out to me the most in this reading is: “But she came and knelt before him, saying, ‘Lord, help me.’” What better example could I have in my prayer life? Recently, I have committed to doing one hour of Eucharistic Adoration every week. I feel differently about this commitment each week: sometimes I feel excited to go and sometimes I feel like skipping it. Sometimes I feel the urgent need to call on God for help with something going on in my life and sometimes I have no idea what to pray for. In all of those cases, it would be a wonderful prayer for me to simply kneel before him and say, like the Canaanite woman, “Lord, help me.”