Voices ever ancient, ever new. Wednesday-Week18-2013.

In commenting on Matthew 15:28 from today’s Mass Readings, Theodore of Mopsuesteia writes:

“Having seen her advocates unsuccessful, the woman then appeals for herself and does not stop but in effect says to the Lord, “Help me, I haven’t been asking this for my own sake.” Then the Savior in turn says, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and to cast it to dogs.” He uses the term dog on account of the Gentiles’ unclean lifestyle and proneness to idolatry, while he calls the Jews children on account of the fact that they appeared to be devoted to God. But he uses the word bread not only to speak of his teaching, which was through words, but also of that which nourished the faithful by means of signs. But in this case the word preceded the condemnation of the Jews, since when life in the Lord had been given to them as bread, they did not accept it. The woman does not complain, even when insulted. What does the Savior do? By his answer, he showed what he had premeditated from the outset. For it was for this reason that he postponed giving a reply: that the woman might cry aloud with this word. Thereby he would show her to be worthy of a thousand crowns. For it was not because he did not want to give her the gift that he delayed but because he sought and took care beforehand to reveal her faith. With his accolades he honors her as presenting a type of the church that is from the Gentiles. Note that he did not say, “Let your child be healed,” but “Be it done for you as you desire,” in order to show that it was the power of her faith that elicited the healing. Even if she were worthy of even greater things, nevertheless that which she wanted was what was given to her (Fragment, 83).”