There’s a reference to dogs in today’s gospel and I will take full advantage of that to talk about my dog!
Most people believe that the reference to dogs in the gospel of Matthew is a negative one. Jesus says to a Caananite women who asks his assistance “It is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs.”
Ouch. Oh no he didn’t just call her a dog?
Well..wait a minute. My dog waits eagerly by my dinner table in anticipation that I might throw him a piece of meat. He never fails to do so. ANd he trusts that I will give him something. It’s a learned behavior and I know…I shouldn’t feed him from the table and I usually don’t. I take a piece of meat and place it aside and then put it in his dish when I am done with my meal. If he’s patient and certain that I am a good and gracious friend, he is secure in knowing that he will get a reward.
And perhaps that is also true for us.
How often are we unlike the Cannanite women and we have no faith that God will take care of us? How often do we fall into hopeless desolation and think there is no way out of situations? How often do we think we know better than God what is best for us? And we then fail to see good things when we can’t see beyond our own misery.
God calls us to be faithful. To look for some sign of consolation that surely appears if we but look carefully for it.
For even the dogs know that at the dinner table there may be a scrap or two for them and they are so grateful for even that much and eagerly await even that small morsel.
The Canaanite woman teaches us to be persistent in knowing that if we ask God enough, enough will be provided. Perhaps that is not what we think we want, but it will always be what we need.
And sometimes for me, the warmth of a loyal and loving dog is more than enough for me to see all that God has offered me.