Wednesday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Nm 13:1,2,25;14:126-29,34-35;  Ps 106:6,7,13,14,21-23; Mt 15:21-28

Moses had to deal with rebellion among those who stood on the edge of the Promised Land.  He had sent representatives from each tribe to reconnoiter the land for forty days.  Their report on stirred up great fear and Caleb, alone, was willing to say, “we ought to go up and seize the land, for we can certainly do so.”  Even during his public ministry the Lord Jesus had to struggle with a Canaanite woman.  She spoke her petition with great faith, and the Lord Jesus praised her and granted her request.  Without faith the Israelites were paralyzed; with faith the foreign woman remembered and trusted in God’s power to save her daughter.


From the first days of liberation the children of Israel were filled with fear and doubt.  As they approach the Promised Land their lack of trust is completely unmasked.  All along the way the Lord spoke to them through Moses and promised them a land flowing with milk and honey.  Such a vision was not strong enough to give them the needed courage.  When then heard the report about all the potential opposition to settling in Canaan, when they heard about the Anakim that race of giants, their fear was confirmed.  We cannot rely upon God; we are powerless to claim our inheritance.  We will be driven back and slavery will be our future.  In his love and faithfulness the Lord does not despair of his people, rather the Lord punished their rebellion.  He gave them one year of repentance for each day of their reconnoitering.  He fulfilled their fears of dying in the desert.  He would not let them enter in and conquer the land until everyone of the wicked assembly that conspired against him and his servant Moses was dead.  In an act of what we would call “tough love” the Lord saved and purified his people.  He made of them a new nation; a people who remembered his wonders and trusted in his power to fulfill his promise.


It was this same fierce faith that the Lord Jesus witnessed in the Canaanite woman.  She trusted in the Lord Jesus and in his power to save her daughter who was tormented by a demon.  This foreigner responded with such great faith.  She believed that the Lord Jesus had come to set us free from the grip and power of demons.  She had more faith in the Lord than did those who had been rescued from the grip of Pharaoh and his might.  She had more faith in the Lord than did those who followed him as disciples.  They just wanted the Lord Jesus to shut her up.  He allowed her to speak and listened intently to her motherly plea.  Her faith impressed the Lord Jesus so much, that in the presence of his less than faith-filled disciples; he praised her.  “She said, ‘Please, Lord, for even the dogs eat the scraps that fall from the table of their masters.’”  This was all that the Lord needed to hear.  This is all we need to hear.  The Lord Jesus remembers us whenever we cry out, “Lord, help me.”  The Lord Jesus remembers us even when we forget his great love and rescue in Baptism and in all his wondrous sacraments.