Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. A Canaanite woman from the area, came and cried out, “Lord, Son of David, have pity on me! My daughter is tormented by a demon.” But Jesus did not answer her, not even a word. So his disciples approached him and said, “Send her away! See how she is shouting after us.”
Then Jesus said to her, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the nation of Israel.”
But the woman was already kneeling before Jesus, and said, “Sir, help me!” Jesus answered, “It is not right to take the bread from the children and throw it to puppies.” The woman replied, “That is true, sir, but even puppies eat the crumbs which fall from their master’s table.” Then Jesus said, “Woman, how great is your faith! Let it be as you wish.” And her daughter was healed at that moment.
In the academic world, exams, quizzes and tests create healthy challenges. They force the students to study more intensely, to exert more effort, to try harder. Thus they make the students progress, advance, excel.
Jesus was often called “rabbi,” that is, teacher because he really was a teacher and occasionally gave tests to his students in order to have them progress in their faith. Thus on the occasion of the feeding of the 5,000 (Jn 6), he asked the apostle Philip where they could buy enough food to feed the crowd. And John here comments: “He said this to test him, because he himself knew what he was going to do.” Unfortunately for Philip, he flunked that test….
In today’s gospel reading Jesus again tests someone’s faith, that of the Canaanite woman. And in this case the woman rises to the occasion and passes the test with flying colors!
The difficulties and trials of life are all tests which we can use for our benefit if we want to, by rising to the occasion and meeting their challenge. Each test we thus rise to increases our faith, makes us grow, brings us closer to God.
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