From The Pastor
St. Matthew and the woman in the gospel had a lot in common. They were both outsiders. He, a tax collector, despised by his country man; she, a foreigner and a woman, despised by all. The story is set in a place where Jesus was not particularly welcomed.
Jesus is in a border town. In any border town there are those who are in and those who are outside. Whether we build a wall to keep them out or put obstacles in their path; we are “in” and they are “out”. In extreme cases, not only do we not want them, we demean them by calling them names. It makes us all the more comfortable when we accept the insulting remarks about those outside the walls. We end up believing, they are not fit to join us! In the end, even Jesus was thought unfit to belong, and so was killed outside the walls. Matthew wants to show how inclusive is the call of Jesus.
This is what I feel is going on in the Gospel community of Matthew. The woman has two strikes against her. Strike one: she is a woman in a male dominated world. Strike two: she is a foreigner.
Except for Christ of course. He is the one who vouches for her; “O woman, great is your faith! She stood her ground, believed with all her might, and she sought out this person Jesus. She would not take “no” for an answer. In abject poverty, she kneels at the feet of Jesus and begs, “Lord help me.” Would that we all be as determined and tenacious as the woman. Or do we feel we have the ‘inside’ track and we are okay?
Lord help me!
– Fr. Joe