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Ancient Humility for the Modern World

In the Gospel of Matthew 15.21-28, (also in Mark 7.24-30) our Lord teaches just the sort of humility He expects from us when a woman approaches Him for a miracle. “He answered her not a word.” (Matthew 15.23) Only after she persisted did He answer, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.” (Matthew 15.26) And this He said only after she begged Him a third time to heal her daughter.

Most of us would have left, feeling alone after being ignored the first time. Almost all of us would have left, feeling dejected after being told, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” (Matthew 15.24) But after the final blow of being called a “little dog” I doubt any of us would have stayed to beg for someone else. But this woman did just that.

Her faith was so great that she was able to swallow her pride and accept that she wasn’t worthy of God’s time. And in fact she was not worthy, nor are any of us worthy of God’s time, for that matter. All she desired was a “few crumbs” of His time to heal her daughter. She did not ask for herself but for her daughter. She called out to the Lord, “Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.” (Matthew 15.27)

She wasn’t putting herself down. She wasn’t beating herself up. And she didn’t argue that she was worth His time. Nor did she suggest she was special and demanded better treatment. She was accepting her place in total humility to the Lord and she heard Him say, “O woman, great is your faith!” (Matthew 15.28)

In today’s world we would likely stand boldly and declare that we deserved better. We, being urged by our social surroundings, would be offended that anyone, “let alone God” would dare to call us little dogs. But this woman didn’t…and God blessed her. That’s something to think about.

Posted by Fr Athanasios Haros at 06:00
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