Isaiah 56:1,6-7; Ps 67:2-8 O God, let all the nations praise you; Romans 11:13-32; Mt 15:21-28
Ever notice how many quitters are in our world. People who just give up and walk away.
Growing up we would hear the following words, "no body likes a quitter."
What does it mean to give up easily or to lack the resolve to finish a task?
Quitters are all around us and sometimes we are the worst of quitters.
How often have we quit on the life of faith? Or resolutions at the new year? The problem with many of us isn't lack of knowledge but rather will. We hit a wall or meet up with resistance and we fold.
We never let the resistance or obstruction reveal our true self to us.
The woman in today's gospel doesn't have quit in her make up. She encounters every kind of reason to give in, give up, and walk away and yet she persists.
AT first she encounters Jesus' silence. She cries out for pity and Jesus says nothing. Only silence. A silent rebuke perhaps.
Then she turns her attention to his followers and she becomes a pest to them and Jesus responds with a rebuke and rejection, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel."
Yet refuses to be defeated. She continues even though the odds seem against her.
Her cries is reduced to the bare essentials, "Lord, help me."
When has the last time we experienced that kind of prayer. When was the last time we removed the dross and got down to bare tax?
Yet, she receives and insult from the Lord, "It is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs."
Jesus just called this woman a dog.
Despite the silence, the rebuke, the insult the woman continues to defy reason and hangs on to hope.
Her perseverance gains her her request.
But why such a winding road? Couldn't Jesus have simply granted her request from the get go?
Perhaps, as St Augustine points out, God was testing her an preparing her at the same time. The rejection inspires her to persevere and thus allowing her heart to expand that she might receive what God wanted to give.
Waiting increased her appreciation by deepening her hunger.
She didn't quit. Do we?
We must never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat. As Babe Ruth put it so bluntly, "every strike brings me closer to my next home run."
Silence, rebuke, rejection neither deterred or slowed down the woman and in the end her faith was realized.