Today is Wednesday the 3rd August, in the 18th week of Ordinary Time.
The choir of Portsmouth Cathedral sing the Kyrie: Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy.
(Lyrics currently unavailable)
Today’s reading is from the Gospel of Matthew.
Jesus left that place and went away to the district of Tyre and Sidon. Just then a Canaanite woman from that region came out and started shouting, ‘Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is tormented by a demon.’ But he did not answer her at all. And his disciples came and urged him, saying, ‘Send her away, for she keeps shouting after us.’ He answered, ‘I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.’ But she came and knelt before him, saying, ‘Lord, help me.’ He answered, ‘It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.’ She said, ‘Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.’ Then Jesus answered her, ‘Woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.’ And her daughter was healed instantly.
You’ve probably come across someone shouting in a street now and then. They might be drunk, or angry, or suffering from a troubled mind or heart. How do you react? Does that help you understand the disciples’ reaction here?
Jesus seems uncharacteristically unwelcoming here. “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” What makes him respond initially to the woman in this way?
What changes his mind?
As you hear the dialogue between Jesus and the woman again, get a sense of how she might have felt at different parts of the story.
The woman’s faith wins her what she wants. Speak to Jesus of your own faith, in gratitude for it, or asking for it to be made stronger and deeper.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.