Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos
Nigeria
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Homilies/Reflections

INDOMITABLE PERSISTENCE
By FR. PAUL ARIOLE

A Gentile woman puts Jesus on the spot by pleading for his mercy on her daughter who was afflicted with an evil spirit.  At first Jesus seemed to pay no attention to her, and this made his disciples feel embarrassed. Jesus does this to test the woman to awaken faith in her. What did Jesus mean by the expression "throwing bread to the dogs"?  The Jews often spoke of the Gentiles with arrogance and insolence as "unclean dogs" since the Gentiles were excluded from God's covenant and favour with Israel.  For the Greeks the "dog" was a symbol of dishonour and was used to describe a shameless and audacious woman. Jesus, no doubt, spoke with a smile rather than with an insult because this woman immediately responds with wit and faith -- "even the dogs eat the crumbs". Jesus praises a Gentile woman for her faith and for her love. She made the misery of her child her own and she was willing to suffer rebuff in order to obtain healing for her loved one. She also had indomitable persistence. Her faith grew in contact with the person of Jesus. She began with a request and she ended on her knees in worshipful prayer to the living God. No one who ever sought Jesus with faith; whether Jew or Gentile was refused his help. Do you seek Jesus with expectant faith?

 
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