At that time, Jesus went to the district of Tyre and Sidon. And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region came out and cried, "Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely possessed by a demon." But he did not answer her a word. And his disciples came and begged him, saying, "Send her away, for she is crying after us." He answered, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." But she came and knelt before him, saying, "Lord, help me." And he answered, "It is not fair to take the children's bread and throw it to the little dogs." She said, "Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master's table." Then Jesus answered her, "O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire." And her daughter was healed instantly (Matthew 15:21-28).
The Canaanite woman, whom our Holy Gospel talks about, was crying after Jesus and His disciples. She had a demon-possessed daughter and she was begging Him to heal her. When His Apostles also asked Him to grant her request, He seemed to insult her by saying: “It is not fair to take the children's bread and throw it to the little dogs". The Lord did not say such a thing to be rude to her or because He was discriminating, but to reveal her humility and her faith. She replied: “Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master's table." Then Jesus marvelled at the greatness of her faith and immediately healed her daughter. Her faith was not only “great”, as Jesus declared, but it was also correct. Because we might have great faith in something groundless and just waste our time. Faith in something with Essence, with Power, faith in God, has itself the ability to absorb power from the Subject we believe in and perform miracles both to ourselves and to the ones we pray for. The Canaanite woman’s faith healed her daughter. Not herself.
The Canaanite woman with her numbered words basically said, that for the Lord to cast out the demon who was making her daughter suffer greatly, was as simple as a crumb that falls from His table. He didn’t even need to pay any attention to it. And it is indeed so small considering what God is able to do. What did the Israelites believe in? In an earthly king. This is the reason why they did not pay any attention to Christ. They never thought He was worth anything. They still expect the Messiah. This is how wrong and how small their faith was. Comparing it with the Canaanite woman’s faith, it was not even a crumb. Therefore they could not even receive a crumb from the Gifts of the Gift giver Lord. And, He was not even their Lord. They never wanted Him to be their Lord.
Casting out demons is natural and effortless for Christ, like the disappearance of the darkness once the light turns on. The light does not struggle or fight to make the darkness disappear. The result is automatic. The presence of light casts out the darkness. Likewise, to free ourselves from our demons and our passions we need the Canaanite woman’s faith to start with, but it will be an automatic effect of becoming One with God. The freedom from the demons and our passions though is like crumbs compared to the unique event of our ontological Union with Christ. We have been called to become Sons of God, One with Christ, His true born children and participants of His Mystical Super. But are we ourselves asking for crumbs? Are we asking Him to fill us up with food fit for dogs? In other words, do we have materialistic and earthly requests from our Lord? Are we insulting Him by asking for these unimportant things? Because, what sort of father would allow his children to ask him for the food he would throw to his dogs?
Our financial and health wishes are less than crumbs for Christ. He was God, He became human and He died on the cross, for us to become Godlike; to become One with Him. Our presence alone to be able to perform miracles. The presence of Christ inside us. To be able to spiritually feed multitudes of people from His riches and His Grace. When we have correct and strong faith, God does not only feed us. He makes us rulers of Egypt, like Joseph, so that we would be able to feed millions of hungry people. Our prayers can have such power. But do we possess such faith, or are we possessed from our passions and our anxieties? The variation on the level of our faith can make all the difference: die from hunger or become facilitators for uncountable souls.
These writings have been translated and re-produced from the talks given between from the fathers of the
Greek Orthodox Monastery of Saint John in Perth, Western Australia.