Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

“She said, “Please, Lord, for even the dogs eat the scraps that fall from the table of their masters...” (Matthew 15:27.)

In commenting on this verse from today’s Gospel, Saint John Chrysostom writes:

“See her humility as well as her faith! For he had called the Jews “children,” but she was not satisfied with this. She even called them “masters,” so far was she from grieving at the praises of others. She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” Behold the woman’s wisdom! She did not venture so much as to say a word against anyone else. She was not stung to see others praised, nor was she indignant to be reproached. Behold her constancy. When he answered, “It is not fair to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs,” she said, “Yes, Lord.” He called them “children,” but she called them “masters.” He used the name of a dog, but she described the action of the dog. Do you see this woman’s humility?

Then compare her humility with the proud language of the Jews: “We are Abraham’s seed and were never in bondage to any man.” “We are born of God.” But not so this woman. Rather, she calls herself a dog and them masters. So for this reason she became a child. For what does Christ then say? “O woman, great is your faith.”

So we might surmise that this is the reason he put her off, in order that he might proclaim aloud this saying and that he might crown the woman: “Be it done for you as you desire.” This means “Your faith, indeed, is able to effect even greater things than these. Nevertheless be it unto you even as you wish.” This voice was at one with the voice that said, “Let the heaven be,” and it was.

“And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.” Do you see how this woman, too, contributed not a little to the healing of her daughter? For note that Christ did not say, “Let your little daughter be made whole,” but “Great is your faith, be it done for you as you desire.” These words were not uttered at random, nor were they flattering words, but great was the power of her faith, and for our learning.

He left the certain test and demonstration, however, to the issue of events. Her daughter accordingly was immediately healed.” (The Gospel of Matthew, Homily 52.)

O God,
Who have prepared for those who love You
good things which no eye can see,
fill our hearts, we pray,
with the warmth of Your love,
so that,
loving You in all things and above all things,
we may attain Your promises, which surpass every human desire.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
Who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Glory to the Father
and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen


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