Saturday, October 3, 2015


It has become the fashion nowadays to be offended... by just about anything: from the Confederate battle flag to anything remotely religious displayed in a public setting (unless the display is a mockery of our Lord or the Theotokos,  in which case it is called "free speech.")  On a more personal level, it is considered well justified that we should be offended by anything we might consider to be an insult or critical comment (however obscure) against one's chosen lifestyle, ethnicity, religion, social and economic status... or anything else whatsoever.  There seems to be a plague in our modern culture of those who claim to be a victim, or at least aspire to become one. 

The Canaanite Woman in today's Gospel was as good a candidate as any for this coveted role.  Just because she had the misfortune of not being born a Jew, she is insulted and belittled--made to feel like trash--merely for requesting help for her demon-possessed daughter from this bigoted, insensitive, politically incorrect healer.  Obviously a member of the oppressive Jewish elite, this man judges her as unworthy of His help.  To Him, apparently, this woman is nothing but a "little dog."  If she were alive today, she'd most likely get a lot of sympathetic "likes" on Facebook and media support a-plenty. 

Yet rather than responding indignantly when first rejected, "she came and worshipped Him, saying, 'Lord, help!'"  Apparently the possibility of her daughter's deliverance is more important to her than her offended dignity.  And then, when our Lord adds insult to injury by insinuating that she is a dog, she doesn't disagree, but counters, "True, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters' table."

It is only then that Jesus commends her for her faith and grants her request.  Thus she demonstrates for us all how essential is the virtue of humility for our salvation.  Now don't get me wrong: there are in this fallen world true victims of injustice and oppression, and as Christians it behooves us to aid and succor widows and orphans, the homeless, and all those in need of our compassion and understanding.  But as followers of Christ (if that is what we truly are), our Lord Himself assures us that we should expect persecution, trials and--if it be the will of God--martyrdom itself.  The proper reaction to this, however, is not outrage and anger, but rather the cultivation of a humble and contrite heart--to pray for our enemies and to do good to those who spitefully use us--that we might endure unto the end whatever cross Christ has deemed us worthy to bear.  Only then shall we be deemed worthy to receive crowns of glory in God's heavenly Kingdom.

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