Thursday of the Fifth Week in Ordinary Time
(Click here for readings)
A Syrophoenician by birth, begged Jesus to drive the demon out of her daughter. He said to her, “Let the children be fed first. For it is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs.” She replied and said to him, “Lord, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s scraps.” Then he said to her, “for saying this, you may go. The demon has gone out of your daughter.”
Wow, I am impressed. She built up enough courage to go see Him. She had heard marvelous things about Him. She walked towards Him in fear and trembling and fell down at His feet. And the Lord treated her like a dog.
There is no way around it. These are the facts, and the facts come from Scripture.
Faith tested. How would you respond to such treatment? I know a few people who, after many years, still hold a grudge against a priest for something they said or for a penance they gave.
“Pray all five mysteries of the rosary.”
What??? You gotta be kidding me! I’m never coming back!”
Jesus said to the woman, “Let the children be fed first. For it is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs.”
“Are you calling me a dog??? How dare you. You no-good-for-nothing fake!”
I know plenty who would have responded like this (and worse). I know very few who would have responded like the woman did: “Lord, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s scraps.”
She really had faith, deep faith, for she was ready to suffer whatever it took to save her daughter. Her faith came not from feelings, but from one single fact. He has saved others. He can save my daughter.
The scraps. Do you sometimes feel like God is giving you the scraps off the floor? If so, then think again. He is inviting you to follow Him in a more intimate and personal way: by example, His example.
I will be thrashed, beaten and dragged. I will suffer humiliation at your hands, at the hands of those I love the most. But I am ready to do whatever it takes just to show you how much I love you.
Faith produces great cheers among the crowd. Deep faith produces great conversions among them. Unfortunately, faith is not so easily spotted. It must be colored with something in order to appear. That something is humility, which means “grounded” or “low.” The root word found in humility is also found in another word: humiliation.
Like the Syrophoenician, the Lord was grounded in humility and in humiliation.
While our Lord humbled himself out of love for us, He was also willing to undergo great humiliation out of love for us. The same holds true for the Syrophoenician. She was ready to suffer whatever she had to out of love for her daughter.
To what extent you are willing to love someone? To the point of being humiliated? This may be its only redeeming quality.
How low can you go? How far down are you willing to be dragged?
To be an astronaut, you have to have all the right stuff. To be a saint is no different.