Our Gospel today can give us the impression that Jesus and his disciples are prejudice. A woman calls out to Jesus to heal her sick daughter. At first, Jesus will not even talk to her. His disciples demand he sends her away because she is a trouble-maker, a bother, and worse yet – a Canaanite. Jesus seems to agree with them. The woman is a foreigner, from an ancient enemy of the Jews. Jesus replies “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” But, this is so unlike Jesus. Instead of responding quickly and with great compassion, he turns his back on her. Doesn’t the love of Christ bring comfort to you and me when we ask God for help?
Finally, the poor woman walks up, shows her deep faith, and says, “Lord, help me.” Now, Jesus would never ignore such words. But, we hear him say, “It is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs.” The woman turns Jesus’ words back on him and asks perhaps she could be like a little puppy and just have a scrap? Seeing her faith, the same faith his disciples have, Jesus heals her daughter. What at first appears to be act of prejudice, is really Jesus showing us that there are no boundaries or walls between God’s people no matter who they are.
Now, that makes for a good bible story to hear on Sunday morning, but what about us? Because, each of us can build boundaries or walls between other people. Boundaries and walls we use to let some people in, and keep others out. Boundaries and walls such as politics, skin color, the way someone looks or acts, how they dress, or where they live. But, Jesus welcomes everyone, and so should we. As followers of Christ, Jesus shows us there can be no doubt that God’s care extends beyond the barriers we set up between each other.
In the 1st Reading today, God says, “My house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples. May we pray this week for an end to our biases and prejudices so everyone feels welcome and the love of Christ in God’s Creation.