The Canaanite woman is truly the classical outsider: a pagan, a pest, a challenge to the disciples and even to Jesus. But, amazingly, she wins the day. Can we even say she causes Jesus to expand the horizons of his own ministry? Does this happen to us as well? Does God call us at various times to broaden our vision, our outlook on ourselves, on others, and on God himself? Examine the ways and thank Him for such challenges. The status quo may make us feel comfortable. But God’s ways are not always our ways.

Another approach. Is there something of the “outsider” in each one of us? Some way I don’t seem to fit in, a feeling that if someone were to take a microscope and look at the secret depths of my heart, there would be areas which the gospel has not yet touched. They may well be embarrassing. Courage! Jesus can handle even this if we let him and implore him. Just ask the Canaanite woman. Maybe she can teach you a lesson on how to get what you want despite all the odds!

—Fr. Jim Serrick, S.J. is a long-time musician, liturgist, and pastor. He currently serves at Colombiere Jesuit Center, Clarkston, MI.