Canaanites pagans foreigners – love without favorites!

Canaanites pagans foreigners – love without favorites!

 

Canaanites? Pagans? Foreigners? Who are they?

In the readings today, these three groups of people were specially mentioned. But who are they?

They are none other than the outcasts, the alienated from society, those who were considered “unbelievers”, “unworthy”, “unclean”, “sinners”.

But how did it happen that to the foreigners, the prophet Isaiah was sent? to the pagans or gentiles, the apostle Paul was sent? and to the Canaanites, our Lord Jesus worked miracles?

What does this imply?

This imply that God is for all, that God’s love is for all. He cares for everyone regardless of who you are – no biases, no partiality, no favorites.

God’s love is simply all-encompassing.

 

Persistence is a virtue

Looking more closely at the gospel (Matthew 15:21-28), the daughter of the Canaanite woman was possessed by the devil. 

Many people interceded for her, that she may be cured.

First, her own mother ran to Jesus, shouted loudly and asked Jesus to cure her.

“Sir, Son of David, take pity on me. My daughter is tormented by a devil.”

 

When Jesus did not respond to her plea, the disciples who were there, turned to Jesus and pleaded Him too.

Give her what she wants,’ they said ‘because she is shouting after us.’

(Although the disciples’ intention here was  clearly to get rid of the woman because she was troubling all of them)

 

The third was Jesus. He knew He was sent by His Father not for the Canaanites. Nevertheless, He still looked upon their need.

He explained His side to the woman saying,  ‘I was sent only to the lost sheep of the House of Israel.’

Jesus meant that His mission is for the Israelites only,  not for those who are outside of Israel and considered unbelievers.

 

But the woman was persistent. She knelt at his feet and cried ‘Lord,’ she said ‘help me.’

Jesus replied, ‘It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the house-dogs.’

She retorted, ‘Ah yes, sir; but even house-dogs can eat the scraps that fall from their master’s table.’

The woman’s persistence was unstoppable. She even accepted the humiliation and called herself a “dog”, meaning “unclean” or those who are shut out of the kingdom of heaven.

And she said that “dogs” can eat the scraps that fall from its master’s table. She would accept even just the dregs, the unwanted pieces from what his master was eating. 

 

The woman was ready to take any residue from the Lord, as long as it is from the Lord. She believed that the tiniest miracle, the smallest of smallest amount of power that the Lord will bother to give can cure her daughter. The shortest phrase, the gentlest touch or the briefest gaze from the Lord is all she needed for her poor daughter.

Then Jesus answered her, ‘Woman, you have great faith. Let your wish be granted.’ And from that moment her daughter was well again.

 

The importance of intercessory prayer

If each one of us will intercede for those who are lost or who are in need, those who are tormented with bad habits, those who are suffering with diseases, those who are most affected by war and terrorism, what a big difference it will make.

In my own experience too, I most often pray for those only in my family circle… for my sick father and mother, my brother in crisis, my sister in difficulty, etc… how often do I really pray for those outside this circle?

How often do I pray sincerely for the friends whom I have promised to pray?

Intercessions are important. That is why we have it within the celebration of the mass. We refer to it as the “intercessory prayers” or the “prayers of the faithful“.

In these prayers, we lift to God all those who are most in need in our community, in our society and in the whole world. We pray for all. We include all, not only those whom we know, not only those who are closest to us.

This is what God wants – to see us all united as one church through our prayers. 

This is to imitate Him who is a universal God, an all-inclusive God. We despise no one. We exclude no one. Because we are “one” church of Christ. We are the “Catholic” church, who, while professing the same faith, welcomes all and embraces all.

 

So, whether Canaanites, pagans or foreigners, they are all loved by God. Therefore, they deserve the same love from us. If we believe in the God who has no favorites, then we, also, must love without favorites.

 

Canaanites, pagans, foreigners – love without favorites!

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God bless you!

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