Even the dogs…
Dear brothers and sisters,
For this column, let me share with you a portion of the homily of St. Augustine on the Gospel of this Sunday, which narrates the story of the Canaanite woman— a pagan— asking Jesus to heal her son:
“See, Brethren, how the value of humility is set before us! The Lord had called her a dog; and she did not say, "I am not," but she said, "I am." And because she acknowledged herself to be a dog, immediately the Lord said, "Woman, great is your faith; be it unto you even as you have asked. "You have acknowledged yourself to be a dog, I now acknowledge you to be of human kind. "O woman, great is your faith;" you have asked, and sought, and knocked; receive, find, be it opened unto you. See, Brethren, how in this woman who was a Canaanite, that is, who came from among the Gentiles, and was a type, that is a figure, of the Church, the grace of humility has been eminently set before us. For the Jewish nation, to the end that it might be deprived of the grace of the Gospel, was puffed up with pride, because to them it had been vouchsafed to receive the Law, because out of this nation the Patriarchs had proceeded, the Prophets had sprung, Moses, the servant of God, had done the great miracles in Egypt which we have heard of in the Psalm, had led the people through the Red Sea, when the waters retired, and had received the Law, which he gave to his people. This was that where upon the Jewish nation was lifted up and through this very pride ,it happened that they were not willing to humble themselves to Christ the author of humility, and the restrainer of pride swelling, to God the Physician, who, being God, for this cause became Man, that man might know himself to be but man. O mighty remedy! If this remedy cure not pride, I know not what can cure it. He is God, and is made Man; He lays aside His Divinity, that is, in a manner sequestrates, hides, that is, what was His Own, and appears only in that He had taken to Him. Being God He is made man: and man will not acknowledge himself to be man, that is, will not acknowledge himself to be mortal, will not acknowledge himself to be frail, will not acknowledge himself to be a sinner, will not acknowledge himself to be sick, that so at least as sick he may seek the physician; but what is more perilous still, he fancies himself in sound health.”
May the Lord teach us the way of humility and heal our pride, so that we might not be deprived of the encounter with Him who has chosen the last place on earth. Those who make themselves humble enjoy the friendship of the Lord and Jesus does not deny anything to his friends.
Have a blessed week!