20th Sunday: Mt 15: 21-28: Perseverance of Canaanite woman.

Today’s Gospel reading relates the story of a Canaanite woman, who
persistently and courageously entered into the life of Jesus. She was
determined to encounter Jesus and was willing to sacrifice everything for
the sake of her daughter’s healing. Even when she was humiliated and
rejected by the disciples, she stood firm in her faith in Jesus.

Have you ever experienced being rejected by the people whom you thought
would help you? Have you ever experienced being given the silent
treatment? The silent treatment was the first form of rejection that the
Canaanite woman experienced from Jesus. When she asked Jesus to heal her
daughter, who was tormented by a demon, Jesus did not acknowledge her
request but kept silent. Nevertheless, she kept calling out to Jesus with
persistence to get the help she needed. The disciples totally rejected
her. They said, “Get away from here.” Now, this is no longer the silent
treatment, it is outright rejection. Yet, the Canaanite woman cried out
with humility, deep faith, and perseverance, as she asked for Jesus’ help.

Perseverance requires us to go through obstacles to achieve our
goals. Recently, I read a meaningful story: There was a famous museum
with beautiful marble floor tiles and in the center of the lobby, a huge
marble statue was displayed. Many people came from all over the world just
to admire this beautiful marble statue. One night, the marble tiles started
talking to the marble statue: “It’s not fair that everybody comes here
and steps on us, while they are admiring you! This is not fair at all.” The
marble statue replied to the marble tiles: “Do you remember that we were
actually from the same cave?” The marble tiles said, “That is why we
feel it is even more unfair. We were born from the same cave but still we
receive different treatment.” The marble statue replied, “Do you
remember the day when the sculptor tried to work on you but you resisted yielding to
his tools?” The marble tiles replied, “Of course we remember that, how
could he use those tools on us, it was so painful.”

The marble statue replied, “When the sculptor stopped working on you he
then started working on me. I knew at that time it would be painful but I
also knew that something beautiful would come of his hard work. So, I did
not resist his work, instead, I bore all the pain from tools he used on
me…! My friends, there is a price for everything in life. Since you
decided to give up halfway, you cannot blame anybody who steps on you now!”

The moral message of the story is that: Do not give up! Do not be
discouraged by setbacks and failures. We can learn from the hardships and
suffering we experience in life as we yield to Jesus and allow Him to bring
some good from the pain and hardships we experience. Someone said. “The
Past was good, the Present is better, and the Future will always be the
best.” Let us keep trying to be better!

Sometimes we ask: “How come God seems silent and indifferent to us?” One
thing is sure: In the struggles and hardships of our lives, we are given
the opportunity to grow in faith and deepen our relationship with God. We
all have struggled with the great burdens of illness, the loss of loved
ones, or major crises, but these are the times that God is with us. We can
trust in God and become closer to Him like the Canaanite woman!

If we give up, we gain nothing! Like the Canaanite woman, we can persist,
and in our trials and hardships we can open ourselves to gaining a more
meaningful and deeper relationship with God. God’s love and mercy are
extended to all who call upon Him in faith and trust, no matter Who we are
or Where we are… So Never, Never give up!