Is this the Jesus we know being this harsh, this disrespectful to this poor woman who, out of desperation and love for her daughter, has been searching for him in the hope that Jesus will do something to heal her daughter and restore her back to life? It is. But what might seem harsh and disrespectful to us today, is just Jesus being bluntly truthful: His focus now is on the lost sheep of Israel, because he, as a Jew is announcing the coming of the Kingdom to them first.
But then something beautiful and grace-filled happens: This woman’s response to what Jesus has just told her has a strong effect on Jesus. When she says to him, “Please, Lord, for even the dogs eat the scraps that fall from the table of their masters,” the so very human heart of Jesus is touched, and whatever resistance he felt toward her just melts away: That is how we know that what he said to her in the first place was not out of disrespect. Jesus is open to the working of the Holy Spirit. And what does he do? Clearly, and tenderly, Jesus comprehends: Jesus sees with his whole heart, his whole mind, and with his soul that this woman’s request, rooted in trust, humility, and love, deserves a response.
Jesus tells her, “O woman, great is your faith!” Her deeply-rooted trust in Jesus draws forth from him admiration and love: Right then and there, “Let it be done for you as you wish.” Love always manifests itself in trust and kindness, and, as in the case of this woman, also in persistence, courage and humility. Notice that it was her faith, her trust, that got Jesus’s attention, touched his heart. God can work with trust, with faith. Even if we call out to our Lord Christ in a state of desperation, if we but trust that Jesus will turn to us and look at us, not as we want to be, but as we are right then and there, then whatever anxiety or worrying or fear, or resentfulness has been eating away at us, it will transform, perhaps not right away, but little by little, into a serenity and peace and a freedom that only God the Holy One, the Only One, can bestow on those who ask for the grace to be healed.