But she was ignored, not that mercy might be denied but that desire might be enkindled; not only that desire might be enkindled but, as I said before, that humility might be praised.1
But if anyone should say, “Why then does he allow this woman to approach him when he says to the disciples, ‘Do not go in the way of the Gentiles’?” We first note that he himself, being who he is, was not, strictly speaking, required to obey the command that he gave to the disciples. We observe, second, that Jesus was not going there to preach. This is the very point that Mark implies when he says both that Jesus hid himself and that he could not escape notice. The fact that he did not run to them first was consistent with the order of the tasks set before him. In exactly the same way, driving away people who were coming to him was unworthy of his love for humanity. For if one should pursue those who are trying to escape, much more should one not try to escape those who are pursuing.2
God became a man. He put aside his divinity. That is to say, in a certain measure he kept out of sight—he hid what was his own, while it was evident what he had taken upon himself. He became a man, even though he is God. Yet man does not yet recognize that he is a man, that he is mortal; he does not recognize that he is weak, a sinner, sick, and that being a sick person, he should seek a physician! What is even worse, he sees himself as being healthy!
The more humble a person is, the more receptive and full he becomes. Hills repel water; valleys are filled up. What did the Lord reply, after the centurion said, “I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof”? He said, “Truly, I say to you, not even in Israel have I found such faith”26—that is, among those people to whom I have come, “I have not found such faith.” What is the meaning of the word such? So great. In what way great? To say the least, great in humility. “I have not found such faith”: like a grain of mustard seed—the smaller it is, the more potent it is.3
- SERMON 77.1. Simonetti, M. (Ed.). (2002). Matthew 14-28 (p. 27). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
- THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW, HOMILY 52.1. Simonetti, M. (Ed.). (2002). Matthew 14-28 (p. 28). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
- SERMON 77.11-12. Simonetti, M. (Ed.). (2002). Matthew 14-28 (p. 31). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.