Jesus with his disciples went on short vacation. They travelled from Jerusalem (Judea), through Samaria and Galilee; they fed five milion people; they cruised through the Lake (well, Jesus was walking on the waters, that’s quiet tiring). Well deserved rest. But it wasn’t meant for them. When they just arrived to Tyre, a woman approached them asking for healing of her daughter.
The first answer of Jesus was “no”. His mission was directed only to the Jews. The strangers and foreigners should look for their own healers. But the woman insisted. Jesus called her a dog. She swallowed the insult and insisted more until he did what she was asking for, in addition praising her faith.
There are times in our lives when Jesus is testing our faith, teasing our determination. How much are we ready to give up in order to achieve what we desire? Are we ready to give up our pride? This woman wasn’t asking for something superficial for her commodity or comfort. No, she was begging for the life of her daughter. She didn’t care how many insults she had to receive, because it wasn’t about her. She would freely give up her own life. She was a mother, and a heart of a mother knows no pride.
In our life of consecrated persons… how many times we witness, we are part, or we even provoke, conflicts based on pride? How many times “to be right” is more important than to created communion? In communities all of us we have our personalities, ways of thinking, acting, doing, reacting etc. And still, we live in community and all this personalities need to work in harmony. And personally, I don’t know any other way of making it work, than the way of humility, of giving up something to achieve something bigger than ourselves. I think we will never know what does it mean to be a mother, until we won’t be able to swallow up our pride and beg the Church (that is God and my sisters who form domestic Church for me) for what we price the most. IF we really price it… We read this Gospel few Sundays after reading the one about treasure. If you know now what your real treasure is, are you ready to give up your pride to get it?
Second (and the last) point:
In today’s Gospel we see Jesus encountering a foreigner. Jesus proclaimed the coming of the Kingdom of justice, peace, fraternity, but in this Kingdom only Jews would be citizens. Only Jews would enjoy the plenty of rights: for miraculous healings, multiplications of bread, listening of the Word, being members of the family of God. These are the rights of the children: to receive the bread. “What about the foreigners?”, the woman would ask and bargain, “Not even crumbs that fell from the table?”
After more than 2000 years of Christianity, it seems we are still struggling with the concepts of “foreigners” in the Church. Sometimes it seems that we want everyone to be cut out of the same pattern, and those who prefer other design, are considered strangers and suspicious. That was the fight of Saint Paul, bringing gentiles. That was the fight of black people, considered “being without soul” not so long ago. That continues to be a fight of others in our time who dare to be different. They are asking us to make our common home, the Church, bigger, to extent out tent, make it more welcoming, a place for all, not only for some. Like that woman asked of Jesus. They are not asking for much… sometimes what for some is a crumb, means a whole world for other. And the treasures of the Church won’t diminish by sharing them; on the contrary, the biggest treasure of the Church, the presence of Christ, is becoming more efficacious sacrament of universal salvation (healing for all) when shared with many, also the “strangers”.
Aleksandra Nawrocka CMT