Proper 15 – Year A
Genesis 45:1-15; Psalm 133; (or Isaiah 56:1, 6-8; Psalm 67); Romans 11:1-2a, 29-32; Matthew 15:(10-20), 21-28
“I am not interested in picking up crumbs of compassion thrown from the table of someone who considers himself my master. I want the full menu of rights.” – Desmond Tutu
The Canaanite woman was a gift to Jesus. What? Was it not the other way around? Was it not rather this woman who received a gift from Jesus? Yes, the messenger, the woman, did receive her full menu of rights. Of course, we realize that what we call rights are ultimately gifts from God. But before she was so gifted she first pointed out to Jesus a gap in his wisdom. This was a message from the Father; and she was the messenger. It is not a radical idea that Jesus grew in wisdom. Luke 2:52 says that Jesus “increased in wisdom and in years.” This Gospel story is yet another example of his increase in wisdom. Jesus at first ignored and would not help this foreign woman. He thought his good news was only for Jews, only for his own kind and kin. (Matthew 15:24) His culture may have instilled in him some kind of prejudice against gentiles, a blind spot causing a stony heart. However, he did have enough wisdom to be open to messages from his Father no matter where they came from. It was Jesus who needed a crumb from the woman’s table, not the other way around. He took it and thereby grew in wisdom and even more openness. The woman was faithful in delivering her message, and her daughter was healed. If even Jesus himself needed more insight so do we. What are our attitudes towards those different from us? If we are white what do we think of Native Americans or Muslims? If we are Arabs what do we think of whites or Jews? The examples are endless because our prejudices are endless. We can indeed be open as Jesus was. Perhaps this very day a crumb will fall from an unlikely table and we will grow in wisdom so we can all have the full menu of rights.
Most translations of Matthew 15:26 (except for the NJB) say that Jesus compared helping the woman to giving the children’s food to “dogs.” However, the Greek word is diminutive, and is literally translated “puppies.”
A stone blind spotted,
stone crushed by crumbs from table.
Now there all dine wise.