In this Gospel reading, a faithfully persistent Canaanite woman “calls out” to Jesus who was ‘withdrawing” out of town possibly looking for prayerful rest. The disciples encourage Jesus to ignore her and proceed with his plans. But Jesus stops, heals the woman’s daughter, and praises her for her great faith. He reiterates to the disciples that his chief purpose on this earth is to save the “lost sheep”.

Like many people, I have my “to do lists” I make every evening. The next day, I cross out these items on my list as I do them. As a teacher, students and staff often “call out” to me throughout my day in my classes and during my free period when I’m trying to lesson plan and grade. In the evening, it is my children calling out to me often wanting help or simply to tell me about their day. How do I view this “calling out”? Do I welcome these as invitations to engage or do I troubleshoot them quickly going back to my “important work”? What is my true mission or chief purpose on this earth?

Is there someone over the last 24-48 hours whom I have neglected or sent away because I thought I had more important things to do? Do I need to engage more deeply with this person?

—Dr. Sajit U. Kabadi is a chair of the Theology Department at Regis Jesuit High School in Colorado.