The stories in the Gospels never cease to amaze me in that they seem to present a seemingly endless series of contradictions of which we are constantly trying to make sense! Today is no exception to this as we encounter a Syro-Phoenician woman approaching Jesus and asking him to heal her daughter of some sort of demonic possession. Why would a person of a completely different faith resort to such a measure? Obviously, she is in a desperate situation as regards the health of her daughter and we have to presume that she has exhausted all the sources she could turn to according to her own faith. She must have heard of the powers of Jesus, and in desperation sought His help.

Jesus ultimately heals her daughter but only after a rather unusual dialogue that is very revealing of the general lack of acceptance that Jesus faced among the Jewish people. The Syro-Phoenician woman seems to be well aware that many of the Jews have rejected the teachings of Jesus and the signs and wonders that He worked. Her words begging for the scarps that fall from the table to the dogs tells us this and at the same time reveals the depth of faith that the woman has in the powers of Jesus. She does not want the best pieces of food from the table; that is, she recognizes that Jesus is so powerful that it will cost Him very little if nothing at all to spare a thought for her daughter. Beggars rarely beg for the best food or the most expensive item in a person’s house – they are satisfied with what little the person is willing to give to them. The same is true here but this woman knows that even a little from Jesus is enough to be able to cure her daughter! It is this depth of understanding and belief that seems to move the heart of Jesus to respond to the woman’s request.

I wonder where we stand in the midst of this dialogue? Whenever I read this story I find myself being challenged as to the depths of my trust in the power of Jesus to address the sin and problems of my life. I pray that we all grow in faith – at least to the depth of the Syro-Phoenician woman.

What aspect of today’s Gospel challenges me the most? What is God trying to tell me through this story? How does it apply to my life today?

Lord Jesus, you are able to address any and all problems in my life. Help me to have the faith that you will help me to overcome my sins and doubts so that I can grow in faith today.