August 11, 2020
“And behold, a Canaanite woman of that district came out and called to him….” Matthew is clear in identifying this woman as a Canaanite. Remember, these were the people who inhabited the Promised Land as Israel crossed the Jordan River under the leadership of Joshua. They were the people who stood in the way of their promised future. They were the ones who Israel was called to dispossess. They were the hated enemies of Israel.
Yet, in our gospel, Jesus sees a broader mission than one that is only directed to “the lost sheep of Israel.” Instead, he responds to the pleas of this Canaanite woman, a harbinger of the Church’s mission to go and preach to the ends of the world. Surely, this mission must continue under the guidance of the Spirit. It will and does continue whenever each of us embraces “the other,” especially one who is “different,” recognizing the inherit dignity and equality of every person. When we do this, we are continuing the mission of Jesus.