August 15

Matthew 15:21-54

“But he did not answer her at all. And his disciples came and urged him, saying, ‘Send her away, for she keeps shouting after us.’” vs. 23

The Jews of Galilee had been scattered through the years and by the time Jesus began his ministry some were living in what were considered Gentile areas. Naturally as Jesus was doing his preaching and healing he searched out those pockets of Jews that they too might be able to hear the good news of the Kingdom of God. That he ignored the Canaanite woman who came in search of healing for her daughter should not surprise us. We do the same when we encounter panhandlers on our city streets. It certainly didn’t surprise the disciples–in fact they urged him to get aggressive with her–she was becoming a nuisance. Again, we can identify. We really don’t like it when we’re besieged by aid seekers–it’s a pain to get all those letters from St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital–they seem to come every other day! As followers of Jesus we tend to define our ministry in the narrowest terms–we do it to maintain our sanity in a world filled with needy people. Even Jesus seems to have had a narrow focus as he began his work! Of course, as we do that, we always should remember that God can surprise us. Mission opportunities turn up in unexpected places–and they can change everything. God surprises us! It happened to Jesus, and it can surely happen to us.

Thought for the Day: How do I react to in-your-face appeals for help?

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