From the Pastor's Desk


Rev. Paul Ring

My Dear Friends in Christ,

I know all about begging dogs. Those of you who know me know my faithful canine companion, Nellie (the "parish pup", as she was once called). She is a master at "puppy dog eyes", that look that a dog can give that will make you "cave in" to anything! She will sit patiently (for the most part) waiting for any little scrap or morsel to fall from your utensil, ready to grab it (often before it hits the floor!) and claim it for her own.

Jesus uses the image of a dog begging for scraps to de-scribe those people who, initially, He wasn't called to save. Jesus even goes so far as to openly deny them a "place at table". In the beginning of Jesus' public minis-try, He made it clear that He came to save "the lost sheep of the house of Israel" (Mt 15:24); it, seemingly, wasn't in the plan of salvation to save anyone else. In this encounter with the Canaanite woman, Jesus' mis-sion takes a different sort of turn. The woman (whose faith is evident) doesn't seem afraid to challenge Jesus in His thought process; she doesn't move Jesus from this analogous thinking, but gets Him to "expand" His thoughts and, perhaps, His heart.

There are times in our lives when we might feel, to some degree, like that Canaanite woman. We may feel the need to reach out to Jesus but, unlike this bold woman, might be afraid of approaching the Lord, fearful of re-jection. We must know in our heart that we have a God who loves us fully, One who knows us to the core of our being, One who can move us from a place of doubt and fear to surety and confidence. The Canaanite woman approaches Jesus fully aware of whom He is; when she refers to Him as "Son of David", she is acknowledging Jesus' place in the kingly lineage of Joseph's ancestor, King David. She not only knows about Him, she knows Him. It is this knowledge, and Jesus understanding and acceptance of the Canaanite woman's faith that brings about this moment of healing.

May we have the courage to approach the Throne of Grace upon which Jesus sits. May we come to trust that we, despite our own unworthiness, are made worthy by the One who calls us to relationship with Himself. May we believe that healing, in whatever way needed, will be ours. May we share this knowledge with all whom we meet.

Have a Blessed Week,

Fr. Paul



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