August 20th 2023 20th SUNDAY OF THE YEAR


Woman, you have great faith

This is the only occasion in which Jesus was outside Jewish territory. He visits the region of Tyre and Sidon, modern-day Lebanon, where He is approached by a Canaanite woman who pleads with Him to heal her daughter. It’s a puzzling encounter. At first, He appears to ignore her. Then He seems almost indifferent to her appeal, reminding her that His mission is to ‘the lost sheep of the house of Israel’. The woman’s persistence wins out in the end. She is the only person in the New Testament who manages to change Jesus’ mind, or so it seems! More likely, He is testing her faith and showing her that God’s delays are not His denials. God tests; Satan tempts! He doesn’t test us to see if we are worthy, but to see if we are ready. Sometimes He stands back in order to increase our desire for Him and our appreciation of His gifts. We see in the words and actions of this unnamed woman, an ‘outsider’ and a ‘foreigner’, the very essence of the faith journey. As people of faith, we will be tested often; we will experience the silence of God, but the challenge is to wait and to persevere. Perseverance separates the winners from the losers in sport and in life and in faith. ‘Woman’, said Jesus, ‘you have great faith’