Jesus : Good News For Women

2023년 8월 20일

Jesus : Good News For Women

<  Twentieth Sunday of Ordinary Time >

              We hear or read the gospels so often, the stories seem familiar but we often miss the deeper meaning. For their time (and ours, for that matter!) the power of the gospels was and is revolutionary. In a world that pushed women down or to the sidelines, the Gospel of Luke sets a teenage girl front and center in the entire story of our salvation. In a society where a man could divorce a woman for something as trivial as burning dinner simply by writing “I divorce you” three times, the Gospel of Matthew records Jesus revoking a man’s right to divorce at all. The Gospel of Mark confers the honor of being Jesus’ “mother or brother or sister” upon anyone who does the will of God. And John, for his part, declares it was a woman, and not a male disciple, who was the first to encounter the Risen Lord.


That’s what makes today’s gospel story of Jesus and the Canaanite woman so shocking. Her daughter is ill. Granted, she wasn’t Jewish, but what mother wouldn’t do everything in her power to save her sick child? Even though she wasn’t Jewish, she calls out using a Messianic title: “Jesus, Son of David, help me!“ But instead of praising her, Jesus ignores her. Undeterred by the slight, she yells even louder. Now the disciples are annoyed with her and ask Jesus to send her away. Jesus explains he wasn’t sent to help non-Jews but rather the lost sheep of Israel.  The woman pushes forward and falls at Jesus’ feet. Now he can hardly ignore her so he says, “It isn’t right to give the children’s food to the dogs.” (It sounds bad in English but the word in Greek is closer to “puppy.”) Jews disliked dogs, especially in the house. But Greeks (non-Jews) loved dogs as pets. The Canaanite woman sees her chance, “Even the puppies eat the crumbs that fall from the master’s table.” Impressed with her faith and willingness to put up with arbitrary social obstacles, Jesus grants her request and heals the daughter—-even from a distance! How willing are we to challenge society’s attempts to make us or others feel “less than”? How vocal are we in acknowledging Jesus as our Lord in public? The witness of the women in the gospels should inspire us to express our faith more openly so that more people might experience the good news.