Exclude No One

This Sunday’s readings have Jesus calling a woman asking for his help a dog. This seems so out of character for Jesus that many people choose to ignore the story altogether. But there is a good explanation for the entire exchange between Jesus, his disciples and the woman. 

Jesus’ conversation with his disciples show that they were disturbed and upset that this woman continued to follow them around begging for help. They came to Jesus and asked him to send her away. Jesus flippantly tells them that he was sent only to the children of Israel. This, of course, contradicted the message Jesus had taught since day one. Jesus taught that he had come for the whole world, not just one group of people. This is why I say he was being flippant.

Then when the woman begged Jesus to heal her daughter he responds by saying that you don’t give the dogs food off the table. Rather than being offended, the woman responded that even the dogs get the scraps that fall off the table. Jesus was trying to teach the disciples a lesson that no one is beneath help. No one is to be sent away. And the woman’s demonstration of her faith drove that point home. 

We too need to hear this message. We need to remember that everyone is worthy of love, acceptance, and help. We are called to be a light and bearer of love to everyone we meet. So don’t be like the disciples. Don’t work to exclude people from the family of the Church. 

Pax et Bonum,

Bishop Greer