Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Even the Dogs

She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters' table.” Then Jesus answered her, “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed instantly.Matthew 15:27-28

Right before our youngest daughter went off to college, she insisted that we go visit the pound and adopt a new dog. Our dog of many years, Madeline, who we also got from the pound, had died almost a year earlier and Phoebe felt it was long past time for us to have a dog. Petey (name picked out before we found the right dog) is a female mixed breed, part small shepherd and pit bull, who has a sweet personality although she is not too bright. Our daughter will graduate from college this spring and Petey will have been with us throughout. She is a dog, and treated like one, but also is a part of the family. We don't baby her or spoil her but she knows she will be cared for. She knows these are her people and she is loved.And sometimes she even teaches us a thing or two about love.

The story of the Canaanite woman from today's gospel, a mother who desperately wants her daughter to be well, is a story of the power of love to overcome any barriers. The disciples did not want to help her and Jesus was reluctant because she was a foreigner, an enemy actually. And yet where love is present, faith and courage abound. She told Jesus of her daughter's need, and wouldn't back away, even when Jesus challenged her. She knew that despite the worldly differences that bind us, God is love and God's love and healing are not limited by race, gender or nationality. She knew that even dogs receive care and love. In her faithfulness and courage, we find a clear picture of the faithfulness of God in Christ. A god whose desire is to break through our human barriers and teach us something new about love.

Today, despite boundaries and challenges, I want to live today courageously as the Canaanite woman did. Trusting that God is not limited by the barriers we set up and that God's love and healing are for every one of us. Today. May God give us all the tenacity of the Canaanite woman so that we might spread God's love across all boundaries today.

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