Outsiders & Insiders

SEEING THE ESSENTIALS
August 4, 2020
GREAT IS YOUR FAITH!
August 5, 2020
PITIK-BULAG: Outsiders & Insiders
 
Our gospel today is about an outsider who won the heart of Jesus. She was a Canaanite mother, a gentile, and a nobody in the eyes of the Jews. Yet, because of her great persistence and faith, she merited a special place in the heart of Jesus.
 
Somehow, in our present difficult moments, the woman is giving us a lesson on the importance of a “never surrender attitude” in our prayer. God might be testing our faith. Some of us are tired of praying for a cure against the Covid-19 virus. We begin to entertain doubts because God is so silent in our prayer. Yet, our gospel today invites us to be more persistent in our prayers and never lose faith.
 
Our faith in God is tested in bad times, especially in crisis moments. It is easy to love God when everything is okay, especially when our prayers are answered. But when God becomes silent in times of trouble, we begin to doubt His presence. In darkness and in time of crisis our faith is tested. Are you giving up? The Lord is asking us, “Where is your faith?” (Luke 8:25). The Canaanite woman was an outsider, yet she showed us genuine faith.
 
Let’s consider in our reflection how an outsider and a nobody, had won the heart of Jesus because of undying persistence and great faith.
 
1. DEEPEST DEEPEST. The Caananite woman knew her status as an outsider. As a gentile and non-member of the Jewish family, she knew the possibility of being rejected by Jesus and his disciples. Yet, she knew her deepest desire – the healing of her daughter possessed by the evil spirit. In her deepest desire rested her deepest love. And love would always bring courage, audacity, and persistence. LOVE NEVER SURRENDERS. And so the woman made a big risk in coming to Jesus.
 
In this pandemic crisis, what is your deepest desire? Are you really praying for the cure and end of this health crisis? Do you come to Jesus every day in your prayer to seek His mercy?
 
2. A SILENT GOD. We have countless experiences of God not answering our prayers. In this pandemic, many are wondering why God seems so silent in this pandemic? We begin to doubt his love for us. We begin to resent God and lose our faith. Do you persist in your prayer?
 
Jesus gave the woman a cold shoulder. He was silent about her request. Knowing Jesus, he could have acted immediately with this woman’s request. Yet he remained silent. A test of her faith and her deepest desire? Maybe, we are also being tested by God now? How do you react when God is silent in your prayer?
 
Just then a Canaanite woman from that region came out and started shouting, ‘Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is tormented by a demon.’ 23But he did not answer her at all.” (Matthew 15:22-23)
 
Yet the woman persisted for she knew who Jesus was: The Lord and son of David.” She was a genuine believer. A real insider in the real sense. Unlike the Jews, who were insiders, yet oblivious of His identity. Her knowledge of Jesus and her great faith made her an insider.
 
3. A GOD WHO REJECTS AN OUTSIDER AND A GENUINE BELIEVER.
 
Jesus answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.’ But she came and knelt before him, saying, ‘Lord, help me.” (Matthew 15:24-25).
 
When Jesus started speaking, he continued rejecting the woman to test the depth and breadth of her faith. But his harsh treatment did not stop her. Instead of giving up, it drew more persistence and faith-filled reply from her. She even knelt and beg him, “LORD, HELP ME!”
 
3. CLAIMING HER RIGHT AS OUTSIDER.
 
He answered, “It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.” She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” (Matthew 15:26-27).
 
When she realized that Jesus was insisting on the rights reserved to insiders, she insisted on the rights of the outsiders yet insiders in some sense. She capitalized on the words of Jesus regarding the dogs to gain access to Him. She reminded Jesus that even dogs who were not really members of the family can have something to eat from the family table. She was actually claiming the rights of the outsiders.
 
Persistence brings brilliant ideas. And Jesus was touched how the woman navigated and tweak their conversation to her advantage. Faith never surrenders. Love would win in the end. And because of the woman’s persistence and faith, she was given the full love of Jesus, not just merely crumbs. Through genuine and tested faith, the woman became an INSIDER.
 
4. FAITH MAKES US AN INSIDER IN GOD’S HEART.
 
Then Jesus answered her, ‘Woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.’ And her daughter was healed instantly. (Matthew 15:28)
 
– Pitik-Bulag
 
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August 5, 2020 – Wednesday
Gospel Reading: Matthew 15: 21-28

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