Chi Rho Reflection for the Week of August 1, 2004
As one of the on-going ministries of Chi Rho Press,
here is a selection from our new book of daily devotions,
"Living as the Beloved: One Day at a Time," by the Rev.
Dr. Sandra Bochonok.
Please read the Gospel and Dr. Bochonok's meditation.
We hope you will be blessed.
Thank you for forwarding this to your friends.
When God seems silent
Jesus left that place and went away to the district
of Tyre and Sidon. 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." But he did not answer her at all. And his
disciples came and urged him, saying, "Send her away,
for she keeps shouting after us." 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." 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." Then Jesus answered her, "Woman, great
is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish."
And her daughter was healed instantly.
What do we do when God seems silent? Do we stop praying
and give up hope? Or do we turn every stone and knock
on every door until we receive an answer? All these
questions find answers in this story of a desperate
Biography magazine has a simple motto, "Every life has
a story." And this woman has a profound story about
faith, hope, and love. She was not Jewish yet somehow
learned about the Healer, who miraculously was in her
country and vicinity. Her precious daughter was
suffering terribly and nothing could help her. She
would move heaven and earth to have a hearing with
She searched for him and when she found him, began
shouting for mercy. She immediately called him by
the distinguished Jewish title, "Son of David,"
showing some degree of recognition of Jesus as the
Messiah who would heal the people. She urgently
called his name again and again. And God seemed
silent. Jesus refused to answer her. She was loud
and bothersome to the male disciples, who urged Jesus
to send her away. Her noisy cries for mercy and
healing for her daughter bothered their rest. It
was not their daughters who were suffering.
The ensuing conversation initially appears harsh and
insensitive as Jesus reminds the woman and his disciples
that he was sent only to the "lost sheep of Israel."
But the woman refuses to take no for an answer. She
drops to her knees and begs for mercy. Jesus replies
that it is not right to take food from children to
give to their dogs.
There are times when popular English translations fail
to convey subtle theological nuances conveyed through
the original Biblical languages and author's intent.
Jesus was not being harsh. I suspect he had a smile
on his lips and a kind twinkle in his eyes as he used
the word the Gospel Greek rendered as the diminutive
word, kynaria, meaning little house dogs, pet dogs, and
even puppies. In no way was Jesus being insulting or
comparing the petitioning woman to the despised and
troublesome wild dogs roaming the countryside.
I wonder if the courageous woman smiled with relief as
she persisted with her supplication for mercy in response
to the Healer's humor and kindness. "Yes, Lord, but even
the kynaria eat the crumbs that fall from their masters'
table." She refused to leave until Jesus offered her a
crumb of healing and mercy. Jesus complimented and
blessed this determined woman. "Woman, you have great
faith! Your request is granted." And her daughter was
How do we pray when God seems silent? This determined
woman teaches us how to pray with persistent faith and
courage. She experienced divine compassion, healing,
and even a moment of humor with Christ. Her story can
be ours. We can approach Jesus for mercy. We can move
heaven and earth with our prevailing prayers. And when
you see little house dogs and puppies, let them be a
blessed reminder to pray during moments of need.
God, have mercy on us and hear our prayers. Amen.
Grace and peace,
Chi Rho Press
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