A Canaanite woman from what is now south Lebanon had a daughter who was possessed by a demon. She called on Our Lord for help, but he replied that he had come to that area to help the Jews, not the Gentiles (or non-Jews). He went so far as to say to her that he would not give food meant for the children to dogs! Jesus was deliberately testing her to see how she would respond. And she responded beautiful y: “Yes Lord, but even the dogs may eat the crumbs which fall from the master’s table”. Our Lord praised her: “Woman, great is your faith! “ And her daughter was instantly healed.
This shows, of course, the great importance of faith, and of approaching God with humility and persistence, even when it appears that he is not listening to us. God does listen, but he also tests. God tests, but he also responds. There is no guarantee that the answer will come in the form we have asked for it. But, if like this woman, we are prepared to accept even scraps of food, it will come. Humility clears a place for grace to be received. Note that the scraps if divine mercy were enough to cure her daughter.
The assistance she needed was the exorcism of a devil: an evil spirit was preventing her daughter from living in accordance with reason and conscience. We would all seek that our lives may be governed by our reasons and consciences. It is a very good petition.
So perhaps we ca n learn from this Gospel a new type of prayer: “Lord, I am so very small , but nonetheless I am yours. Even if I am an outsider in many ways, yet I am content with the leftovers. All I ask of you is that you grant me the interior peace to be able to direct my life in accordance with reason and conscience. Please, Lord, meet my spiritual and legitimate earthly needs in the way you see fit. Grant me whatever is best for me, from whatever can be all owed to me. I am satisfied to be in relationship with you. I ask only that my soul be filled with a good spirit. “Amen
Fr. maroun El-Kazzi