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Daily Catholic Question

What is the meaning of the story of Jesus and the Canaanite Woman?

I'm sure that nearly every reader finds difficulty with the passage concerning the Canaanite woman and her plea for help. Commentators struggle with trying to explain the reactions and words of Jesus.

Alexander Jones may do as good a job as any in The Gospel According to St. Matthew. Jones suggests the words of Jesus are not as harsh as they read. Whatever Jesus says, the Canaanite woman is not put off. She seems to accept his response as an invitation to persist and try to top his remark.

Jones also asserts the Greek for dogs might well be translated as "pets" or "little dogs" (puppies). Thus Jesus is telling her the children of the family (Jews) come before the pets!

Jones sees this as a kind of small parable or allegory. Jesus insists that the priority of his mission is to the Jews. Yet Jesus responds to faith wherever he finds it. And in the Canaanite woman he finds great faith.

Click here for the rest of today's answer

Saturday, December 8, 2012
Daily Catholic Question for 12/7/2012 Daily Catholic Question for 12/9/2012


Nativity of St. John the Baptist: Jesus called John the greatest of all those who had preceded him: “I tell you, among those born of women, no one is greater than John....” But John would have agreed completely with what Jesus added: “[Y]et the least in the kingdom of God is greater than he” (Luke 7:28). 
<p>John spent his time in the desert, an ascetic. He began to announce the coming of the Kingdom, and to call everyone to a fundamental reformation of life. </p><p>His purpose was to prepare the way for Jesus. His Baptism, he said, was for repentance. But One would come who would baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire. John is not worthy even to carry his sandals. His attitude toward Jesus was: “He must increase; I must decrease” (John 3:30). </p><p>John was humbled to find among the crowd of sinners who came to be baptized the one whom he already knew to be the Messiah. “I need to be baptized by you” (Matthew 3:14b). But Jesus insisted, “Allow it now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness” (Matthew 3:15b). Jesus, true and humble human as well as eternal God, was eager to do what was required of any good Jew. John thus publicly entered the community of those awaiting the Messiah. But making himself part of that community, he made it truly messianic. </p><p>The greatness of John, his pivotal place in the history of salvation, is seen in the great emphasis Luke gives to the announcement of his birth and the event itself—both made prominently parallel to the same occurrences in the life of Jesus. John attracted countless people (“all Judea”) to the banks of the Jordan, and it occurred to some people that he might be the Messiah. But he constantly deferred to Jesus, even to sending away some of his followers to become the first disciples of Jesus. </p><p>Perhaps John’s idea of the coming of the Kingdom of God was not being perfectly fulfilled in the public ministry of Jesus. For whatever reason, he sent his disciples (when he was in prison) to ask Jesus if he was the Messiah. Jesus’ answer showed that the Messiah was to be a figure like that of the Suffering Servant in Isaiah (chapters 49 through 53). John himself would share in the pattern of messianic suffering, losing his life to the revenge of Herodias.</p> American Catholic Blog Let us pray to Our Lady, that she may protect us. In times of spiritual upset, the safest place is within the folds of her garments.

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