We’re going to try something different this Mass. Ok we’re going to have a test I will proceed to ask you questions about the faith and based on how you answer will determine how we move forward. Ok, here we go Question number 1…Who’s heartrate was just elevated by a gagillion %? You don’t have to raise your hand. One of the very worst feelings is being put on the spot or to be tested in a public way. The woman in our Gospel epitomizes for us this sense of vulnerability as she comes before our Lord. Taken out of context we can hear this passage and think, dang, I thought Jesus was Mr. Nice Guy, but now I’m thinking maybe his mom should talk to him and set him straight.

If anyone knew the struggles of raising a child with issues it would have been Mary…from having no place to give birth, then a political leader having a death wish for her baby, to living in a foreign country knowing only her husband and child…Mary had been through the wringer. So naturally Jesus could sympathize with the Gentile woman who requested his assistance, but what He wanted for her was not merely to cure her child but to allow her the opportunity to fully express her love and devotion as a person of faith.

In the book “Influencer the power to change anything” the authors discover that after identifying a behavior that can create a process of growth that has previously been missed there has to be a new way of thinking that is introduced for people to do what was once previously thought to be completely undesirable. An example they use is dieting someone may not naturally replace fatty and sweet foods with more low calorie less flavorful foods on their own but they are willing to give it a try if 2 questions can be answered in their internal processing ONE Is it worth it and TWO can I actually do it. When placing things in these terms change isn’t just possible it’s inevitable. Certainly there is no question that the mother of the daughter tormented by a demon has made it evident that it is worth it to her to appeal to Jesus even if it requires public humiliation as if she is a dog begging at the feet of her master. Question one answered, but Question 2 can she actually do it, well here this pagan woman, realizes she can’t cure her child herself, but she believes that Jesus can and therefore she makes the plea, “Lord, help me.” Not only does she pass the test, but skips ahead a few grades, because she makes Jesus her answer.

When trying to live our faith sometimes we can forget that there is a reason for the challenges we face. We tend to focus on the inconveniences, the flaws, and the extra that it requires of us and we can easily get down on ourselves and others. The persistent pursuit of our Lord in these times is where faith takes roots where it would otherwise remain surface level. But often this comes with a testing or a proving of what worth we place on our relationship with God. We have to treat Him less like a grace dispensing machine and more like a Father who orders our lives with purpose—even the hard stuff. When we trust God like a desperate mother, when we seek him as our answer to our needs we can begin to see things not as a test, but as a way of love.