Wednesday, 18th Week in Ordinary Time

          We have heard the story of the Canaanite woman who possessed great perseverance. She underwent a sort of an obstacle course; but in her case, it was not a fun game; it was a matter of life and death. She had to hurdle several obstacles…

  • She was a woman. As such, she was considered a second-class citizen.
  • She was a Canaanite, a Gentile. Jews were antagonistic towards Gentiles.
  • The initial reaction of Jesus to her plea was an embarrassing silence.
  • The disciples did not treat her well or they did not welcome her.
  • Jesus referred to her as a ‘dog’ – saying: “It is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs.”

Indeed, the woman had to hurdle a lot of obstacles as she approached Jesus to ask for help.

            She even got into a friendly argument with Jesus about why he should help her. She told Jesus: “Please, Lord, for even the dogs eat the scraps that fall from the table of their masters.” Jesus was completely won over by the depth of her faith –saying: “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.”

            Today’s gospel challenges us to ask ourselves: How persistent and persevering is our faith? In one of my homilies in More Green Thoughts, I quoted the words of Thomas Edison, the great inventor, about persistence –or more accurately, about failure in persistence. Edison says: “Many of life’s failures are men who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” I am also struck by Elbert Hubbard’s words on persistence: “The line between failure and success is so fine that we are often on the line and do not know it.” “How many a man has thrown up his hands at a time when a little more effort, a little more patience, would have achieved success.” “A little more persistence, a little more effort, and what seemed hopeless failure may turn to glorious success.”

            Let us ask the Lord in this Eucharist for the grace of persistence and perseverance. May we never give up on ourselves and on our potential to succeed, even if we have already experienced a lot of failures. May we never give in to discouragement and frustration as we pursue our hopes and dreams. Never give up!

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