A reflection on Matthew 15:21-28
How is your prayer life? We all need to ask this question of ourselves from time to time lest we get into a rut of repetitive, trite or disingenuous prayer. The Canaanite woman in the Gospel today gives us a very good example of how to approach God with our needs. When the woman approaches Jesus initially, she apparently has heard of his fame as a healer and calls him by the title “Lord, Son of David.” When Jesus taught his disciples how to pray he opened with “Our Father,” just as the Canaanite woman used the proper address for Jesus so we to use the identifier of our relationship to God daring to call Him our Father. The Canaanite woman is also persistent in her plea to Jesus even as she is ignored by Jesus and even when he refers to her as a household pet compared to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, she is still determined in her response. Jesus himself told us to be persistent in our prayers to the Father when he states, “will not God bring about justice for His elect who cry to Him day and night?” (Luke 18:8) The final characteristic of prayer that the Canaanite woman has is that of humility. The worst footing that we can be on with our Creator is the idea that He owes us something, on the contrary it is us who owes everything to our God, and there is nothing that we possess that He has not given us. Just as the tax collector in the Temple we should bow our heads, acknowledge ourselves as sinners before our Father and ask of His forgiveness. Remember there is always time for prayer even if it is a quick “thank you God” so let us imitate the Canaanite woman in the Gospel and pray with all of your heart.
Your Servant in Christ