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GOSPEL COMMENTARIES


 

 

 

THE CANAANITE WOMAN

I.   Scriptures narrate several incidents wherewith Christ worked ahead of schedule.  At Cana, He was not due yet to perform miracles but, because of  Mary's humility, He did.  In the incident of the Canaanite woman, Christ also was not yet due to work among the Gentiles but, because of her humility, He did. 

II.   The Canaanite woman's humility overwhelmed Christ.  How did she show her humility?  a) She went all the way to see Christ but did not enter Jerusalem; she felt herself unworthy to enter the holy city.  b) She left behind her home, her very sick daughter, her kinsfolk.  She left all to go to Christ.  c) But this is the greatest sign of her humility. . . she blamed herself for the misfortune of her daughter.  She did not say:  "Have mercy on my unfortunate daughter."  She said, "Have mercy on me."  I have sinned, I am the unfortunate one; what happened to my daughter is my fault.  So, "Have mercy on me." 

III.  Here was a woman who knew nothing of Scriptures, of the prophecies and of the Law.  But she knew more about Christ than the Scribes and the Pharisees who mastered the Law and the Prophets.  This shows that humility is the mother of wisdom, not books. 

IV.   The woman spoke and begged. Christ did not answer.  She further begged and Christ repelled her.  Why did Christ behave in such a manner?  To elicit virtue from her.  What would ordinarily discourage someone did not discourage her.  She insisted.  Unlike us, when we ask and we fail to obtain, we desist.  Christ sounded impossible to her, yet she went against what seemed to be impossible and made it easily possible. 

V.   Goodly Shamelessness born of humility was what she exhibited.  Rebuked by Christ, "I am sent to the lost sheep of Israel."  She agreed, "Yes, Lord, you were not sent to us Canaanites for we are unworthy of you."  Insulted by Christ, "It is not right to give children's bread to the dogs."  She agreed with triumphant humility, "Yes, Lord, I am a dog;  but dogs can partake of the crumbs.   Faced with insults from Christ, the woman agreed and admitted to the truth of the insults.  And there was no anger in her in the face of insults. 

VI.   Faith is the fruit of humility.  Without humility, there is no true Christian faith.  The prayer of faith is a humble prayer that receives all from God.  "And at that very hour, her daughter was made whole."  Her faith contributed much to the healing of her daughter.  In the time of Christ, many who went to Him were healed;  the Canaanite woman's daughter was healed without having gone to Christ. . .because of the woman's faith. 

St. John Crysostom, "On Matthew"

 

 

 

 

(02-04-06)

 
 
 

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