Earlier this summer I heard Sr. Simone Campbell, SSS, (of Nuns on the Bus fame) interviewed on the radio program On Being with Krista Tippett.  The title was ”How to be Spiritually Bold.” She talked about how the experience of the bus tour came to be, her appreciation of the community created with all kinds of people, and her desire to be inclusive of “the 100%.”  In dialogue with those we might refer to as people of means and influence, Sr. Simone discovered that “having curiosity to see [each other’s] perspective allows for finding new solutions. … How could I leave you out if I’ve heard your story?  I can’t.”

The first reading told us that Canaanites were a “fierce” people. This woman wasn’t taking “no” for an answer and her persistence probably went on for at least an hour. We don’t hear all of her story, missing details of her circumstances, the impact of daughter’s condition on their family, the other healers and remedies they had tried. The woman’s spiritual boldness expanded Jesus’ vision of his mission.  She didn’t ask for healing from a spirit of entitlement, rather a spirit of humility, faith in Jesus and a deep desire for her daughter’s healing. He couldn’t leave her out. She was bold enough to speak.  He was bold enough to listen and allow his heart and mind to be changed.

Whom do I need to speak up for today? Whom do I need to listen with an open heart and mind?

—Jenene Francis is the provincial assistant for pastoral ministries for the Chicago-Detroit and Wisconsin provinces of the Society of Jesus.