In the opening pages of the Gospel we hear the words of St Elizabeth who upon welcoming Mary to her home said of Mary: ‘Blessed is she who believed that the promise made her by the Lord would be fulfilled.’ Thus the first beatitude we find in the Gospel is that of faith and it refers to who believed as St John Paul II said to the pilgrims visiting Rome in 1998. As Jesus was entering this world of ours in the mystery of his Incarnation, in the mystery of God becoming flesh, he awoke faith in Mary, a young girl from Nazareth. In Mary we discover faith in its pristine form. Mary believed not in an abstract deity but in God who comes to his people, in God who makes the first move. This first move of God fills people with grace to trust him, to accept his message as the Good News. This is what we discover in Mary. That’s why we keep turning to her because we don’t want to lose what we have been given by God. We want to cherish God’s first move made towards us. We want to see his grace grow in us into faith.
My Dear Sisters and Brothers! This Sunday the Holy Scriptures present us another woman. We are truly blessed with a feminine weekend this weekend. The woman whom we meet is very loud. I wish she had the strongest amplifier possible because what she says is precious. I think that the reason why Jesus appeared to be ignoring her was that he wanted her to keep saying what she was cherishing in her soul. Jesus wanted her to keep disclosing the riches filling her soul so that many more people could hear it.
The first riches is her motherly love for her daughter. The love which caused her suffer so much because of her daughter’s illness. We can understand and appreciate it. It resonates with our human experience. I believe that this is the reason why Mary is so attractive to us too. Our Blessed Mother also lived and loved in the way which was so human.
This first riches disclosed by the Canaanite woman from today’s Gospel, her deep love for her daughter was situated in the drama of the suffering experienced by the girl. We don’t know what kind of suffering it was but it must have been severe. Here the other riches of the Canaanite woman is disclosed. How often when suffering or difficulties impact us it seems to weaken our faith. My Dear fellow Christians let us pay attention to what the Canaanite woman is saying. Let us gather every single word she is saying. Let us take with us into our daily life every single word she is saying. She is a great mother indeed. She is also a ‘woman of great faith.’ This is how Jesus spoke of her at the end of the Gospel passage we have been given this Sunday.
We’ve already reflected on her motherly love. What can we say about her great faith?
She spoke of Jesus as ‘Son of David.’ This pagan woman must have definitely heard of Jesus. She might have even heard and seen him herself. As she speaks to him she acknowledges him as the one who fulfills the promises given to the People of Israel. Her pagan imagination about divine has been changed. Her image of divine is no longer about some god she must go to but it is the image of God who makes the first move, God who comes to his people because his feels compassion for them.
This pagan woman also speaks of Jesus as Lord. The Jews reserved this word for God as they out of reverence didn’t utter the Holy Name of God. The woman didn’t say it once. She didn’t say it twice. She said it thrice. Thus the way she addressed Jesus wasn’t accidental. She acknowledged in Jesus the God whom the Jews refused to recognize.
My Dear fellow Believers! If you find yourselves in a situation which makes you doubt God I invite you to turn to Our Blessed Mother. Let her calm the storm of fear and doubt in your soul. I also invite you to fill your heart and mind with the words of the Canaanite woman from today’s Gospel. In your struggle keep repeating to Jesus her words: ‘Son of David, take pity on me.’ When everything appears to suggest to you that God is not there for you keep saying: ‘Lord. Lord. Lord.’