Children and Dogs
“Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so. Little ones to him belong. They are weak but he is strong. Yes, Jesus loves me….”
We have all grown up since the days of singing “Jesus loves me” but has our faith grown up? Yes, Jesus loves us but faith is not about sentimentality and Jesus is not always soft and cuddly. Just ask the Canaanite woman in today’s gospel. She will tell you all about it. She is not one of the chosen people. She is an outsider that the insiders do not want to be around. There is just something about her that is not acceptable. On top of that she is a woman in a society in which women have no real value or standing. To make matters worse she’s a screamer with a crazy kid.
Life for her is neither simple nor easy. Sentimentality won’t cut it. She needs help so she comes to Jesus. Yes, Jesus loves her but he ignores her and then calls her a dog. So what do we do with that?
Many have tried to explain it away. They offer excuses trying to justify Jesus’ behavior. None are really convincing. Maybe Jesus was just tired and having a bad day. Or he was teaching his disciples something. Really? At the expense of this woman and her daughter? Others say Jesus was testing her faith; as if her life was not enough of a test. Maybe Jesus did not understand the full extent of his mission and ministry. I suspect all the many excuses only highlight how embarrassed we are by this text. Regardless of why Jesus did what he did we do not like it. It makes us uncomfortable. That is not the Jesus we want but that is the Jesus we get in today’s gospel and sometimes that is the Jesus we get in life.