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Jesus and the Canaanite Woman

A Reflection on Mt. 15:21-28

By Bro. Peter Pocbit, CJM


People outside our cirle are considered outsiders. We do not have room for an outsider simply because we are not on the same side. The outsider’s side is foreign and there is a certain policy that we abide here. This is the way we do it. This is the world of today. A culture of exclusivity that deceives people to live only with their own kind.

This is what really happens in the world today. History proves that a demarcation, division or polarity divides people of different race, socio-economic status, gender, etc. Up to now there are news about about the struggle of Afro-Americans in the hands of Caucasians. Some races even call Southeast Asians as “brown monkeys.” The list of discrimination goes on and on…. This is actuality the reason why the world today is so mean. People are separated by color, religious affiliation, net worth, profession, title and value.

When the Canaanite woman wailed and called to Jesus to help her daughter possessed by a demon, initially “Jesus does not answer...”


God thinks differently. Every person is created according to God’s image and likeness. This is the experience of the Canaanite woman, who approached Jesus. The meeting is not expected and can be considered an instance of accident. For the Jews people outside their flock do not belong to the chosen race. This is shown by his disciples. They regard her as stranger and have no connection at all.

They look down at the gentile woman. She deserves to be at the periphery of society.

But Jesus treats her differently. When the Canaanite woman utters her request for her ailing daughter, he looks intently at her eyes. Though he is about to have dinner and to take rest after a mission of mercy, his heart pitied her. True to her feeling and concern for her child, this Canaanite woman comes out of the blue and has a petition ready to be offered to Jesus: recovery and healing not for herself but for her daughter. Given the chance, she persists without having thought of any apprehension or discouragement should Jesus not give her his attention.

She is convinced that Jesus comes from God. She does not think of any reason that brings her discouragement. She is simply motivated because her belief to Jesus is genuine.

“Jesus does not answer the Canaanite woman.” He just looks at her. His heart is moved to pity upon hearing her love for her daughter. In every mercy shown, God becomes present. “God is mercy.” While the disciples ae annoyed, Jesus takes the opportunity to prove that true faith comes from a conscious act of loving God. While the disciples want her to be gone, Jesus let her word be his priority here and now. God is present everywhere. Our part is to help ourselves get ready and willing to allow God’s Spirit to lead the way.

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