Devotional Thoughts for the Sunday of the Canaanite Lady (4th Sunday of Great Lent) 8th March 2015


Reading: From the Gospel according to St. Matthew 15:  21-31
Dear and Respected Brethren,

By the grace of God we are entering the fourth week of the Great Lent
of the year. In today’s reading we come across with the cry, prayer
and faith of the Canaanite lady who sought the compassion towards her
daughter who was vexed with a devil. She cried: “Have mercy on me, O
Lord, thou Son of David, my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil”
(Verse 22) The lady though a pagan by birth had identified our Lord as
the son of David, who was supposed to be the savior of the entire
mankind.  Not only she knew the identity of our Lord, but also she had
great and amazing faith in her knowledge. Our Lord did not turn to her
plea positively. Even after the intercession of the Apostles, our Lord
did not favor her. Still she continued her prayer and earnest requests
in high volume. She did not get back until she was favored by our
Lord. This sort of prayer is to be followed by us.
This Canaanite lady is a good teacher for us who often get overjoyed
over the tradition, and similar claims, she teaches how we must
interact with our Lord and Savior. First thing to be remembered is
that we must cry when we might approach our Lord God. She cried
sincerely and it enabled her to achieve what she wanted to have. When
one might cry, our voice of the cry would be followed by tears from
his or her eyes. Our Church fathers have given significant importance
for the tears and it is often mentioned that the tears would be
considered as more precious than the costly jewels and pearls
available in the world. Hence all who might observe the Lent are
supposed to offer his or her tears before God.  Tears often remind us
about our sins and guide us to seek forgiveness of our sins. Tears
often purifies our eyes and enable us to have a perfect vision when
and where  our eyes are not clear, our visions also would be fake and
gloomy The Canaanite lady had a deep and staunch faith. She believed
that Lord Jesus was the Son of David (who had to reach to provide
salvation.) Those who had waited for the Savior with hope and
expectation also had believed that He would come from the tribe of
King David.  The prayer of the Canaanite woman was also so unique. She
prayed for the mercy. She earnestly requested Lord Jesus to have mercy
on her.
The Canaanite woman’s tears, faith and prayer are exemplary and they
are guide lines for us who observe the great Lent to get our Lord’s
mercy, compassion and blessings. Let us take her as a role model for
observing the Lent and fasting. Let us also cry aloud to our Lord God
to save us by forgiving our sins and evil lives so far. The Canaanite
woman might have cried in high voice. She was confident that she was
not eligible to come near Lord Jesus. Still she did not get back from
her attempt.
The Canaanite woman has been accepted by God Almighty as instrumental
to teach the world that the Savior is not only for a community or a
small group of the humanity. Till then it was realized by all that a
Savior would incarnate to save the Israelites. But God’s plan was not
only to save the Israelites, but also to save the entire mankind,
without any sort of limitations. There were no boundaries of faith,
color, language or so for God to grand the freedom from Satan and evil
powers. God rightly used the Canaanite woman to reveal the great truth
of the salvation of God is beyond any sort of limitations. Our Lord
Jesus said to the woman, “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the
house of Israel.” (Verse 24) When our Lord said so, the Canaanite
woman came forward and worshipped Him, with the prayer “Lord have
mercy upon me.”  (Verse 25)  Worship is the exhibition of obedience,
love, respect and conviction. In addition to the three lessons we
learnt from the Canaanite woman earlier; let us decide that we would
worship our Lord God without break in our future lives. In worship we
have to surrender ourselves to His complete disposal. So the Holy
Church insists us to do kumbideel (prostration) during our Lenten
prayers, where one could submit himself or herself to God’s disposal.
When our Lord said “It is not meet to take the children’s bread and to
cast it to dogs”, she did not take it as a personal insult or abuse.
There are few who  She did not make it a complaint, where as she
identified herself to the word uttered by our Lord. Her faith and
humbleness enabled her to attain the great certificate from our Lord
“woman, your faith is great.” Let us try to hear such a compliment
from our Lord God at the end of this Lenten season.
When our Lord declared: “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the
house of Israel”, none of the listeners reacted or responded
negatively or positively. But our loving God and Savior utilized the
opportunity to reveal and declare that He is the Lord and Savior of
all men and women other than the Israelites also.
Let us not forget the lessons we learned from the Canaanite Lady and
let us adopt the cry, tears, faith and worship in our lives.
May God bless us all

Jose Kurian Puliyeril