At first glance, we can call this woman of today’s gospel the woman of misfortunes! First, she is distraught that her daughter is tormented by a demon. In her helplessness, she turns to the only solution she thinks most effective. She seeks the Lord Jesus Christ who is known for his magnanimity and healing power.

However, finding Jesus was not the end of her troubles. She seems to be ignored even by Jesus and the disciples try dispose of her as a noisy nuisance. All these because she is a Canaanite, considered below par compared to the pure Israelite. She suffers a racist discrimination.

Even Jesus infers that she is like a “dog,” unworthy to share the benefits of children in the household. Was this because she is a woman, a person of unreliable reputation and lesser dignity than men? Notice that men who approach the Lord for healing favors are never treated the same way. She suffers a sexist prejudice.

Today’s activists, bashers, and trolls will find in Jesus a favorite and justified target. Here is a man who throws his weight around foreigners and women! 

Before we can make that judgment though, God’s Word invites us to focus our attention on the woman – her persistence and tenacity of spirit. She is not deterred by the initial indifference of Jesus. She ignores the stinging label applied to her. She is serious to get what she wants. She has found Jesus and she will not leave without getting what she wants for her beloved daughter. No trial will make her back out of her desire.

In fact, the Lord Jesus was actually trying to make this woman’s faith shine for all to see. His initial actions toward her were meant to challenge her, not to disparage her. In the end, Jesus exclaims in admiration “Woman, great is your faith!” (Mt 15:28). Jesus, far from treating the woman bad, really wanted to highlight this faith that overcomes all obstacles!

Do we sometimes think of giving up on trust and faith when we pray? Do we allow trials to slacken our spirit and beat us down? Let us pray for the grace to become like the woman. After all, she was not a woman of misfortunes, but a person with a fiery fighting spirit!