A Reflection for Wednesday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Find today’s readings here.
Then Jesus said to her in reply,
“O woman, great is your faith!
Let it be done for you as you wish.”
This verse seems inspiring, but this is something that Jesus says to the Canaanite woman, a Gentile, after she has begged for his help multiple times and he has ignored her and tried to send her away. Her daughter is tormented by a demon and she believes Jesus can heal the girl. She has no other options, and she is clinging to the faith she has from hearing stories about Jesus.
This is a glimpse into Jesus’ own humanity. He has ties to his people, and desires to help them first. But in the end, Jesus helps the faithful woman, and her daughter is cured.
I am reminded of my own denial of those in need often. On my walk home from work, 13 blocks up Sixth Ave and over three to Ninth, I pass close to a dozen homeless people on any given day. Sometimes I stop and give them money or food, but more often I walk past. My excuses convince me. I don’t have the bandwidth to help every person. I need to first support myself as a college student. Any help I can give feels so minuscule compared to the mass of the problem.
We are all first inclined to help ourselves and our kinsfolk. But the reading for today reminded me that we can help others in need as well.
We are all first inclined to help ourselves and our kinsfolk. But the reading for today reminded me that we can help others in need as well. Jesus also didn’t respond to the Canaanite woman in need right away. But then he did the right thing. We aren’t perfect, but we should help others when we can.
I was walking home from work the day after reading this Gospel passage. And I passed a woman on the street, asking for money. I started to steele my gaze and continue walking past her, as New Yorkers have to do. But then I stopped, turned back and took out the cash in my wallet.
“I only have five dollars,” I apologized. But she thanked me: “It all adds up.”
I still don’t know what the answer is to institutional problems, like homelessness, that feel as big as they are. But Jesus reminded me that when I can help, no matter how small it seems, I should.