BY TERESA MARIE CARIÑO | August 17, 2020
Sunday’s Readings

I love this Sunday’s Gospel because, in many ways, it flips the script. In this scene, we have a Canaanite woman calling out to Jesus to cure her daughter. Jesus doesn’t answer her and his disciples want to send her away. But with tenacity and with faith, the Canaanite woman continues to call to Jesus. It is the Canaanite woman who teaches Jesus that he has come not just for the lost sheep of Israel but for people like the Canaanites, as well. If Jesus needed to be taught to expand his circle of care, there’s hope for us all! 

voices of women

[Black Women Are Leading this Civil Rights Movement, Johnny Silvercloud via Flickr]

This passage puts the action and agency completely on the Canaanite woman which is fascinating because (1) she’s a Canaanite, and (2) she’s a woman. As we know, Canaanites were outsiders who were considered a people apart from the Israelites. And as we know, women are rarely portrayed as having their own agency, let alone teaching Jesus. The Canaanite woman doesn’t even have a name, but she does have a voice. And she uses that voice to ask for healing for her daughter. 

Who are those who experience oppression, particularly the women, who are calling out to us? Who are the women using their voice to widen our circle of concern? 

Recently, Olga Segura wrote an article for the National Catholic Reporter to call the Catholic conversations around Black Lives Matter to honor its women founders. It was three women, Alicia Garza, Opal Tometi, and Patrisse Cullors, who wanted to create space and a campaign to recognize the dignity of Black lives and how that dignity is daily denied. It was three women who sparked a national movement with global solidarity. It continues to be women who use their voices to drive local and national organizing movements. Yet their names are absent when Catholics talk about Black Lives Matter. We echo their words yet leave them nameless. We must, as Segura urges, amplify the women leaders. Alicia Garza, Opal Tometi, and Patrisse Cullors and the women who have come before and the women who come after them are like the Canaanite woman calling to each of us to care for those beyond our circle. 

7 replies
  1. Avatar
    Kathryn McMahon says:

    I just preached a sermon yesterday about this very subject! I said that the woman from Cana was a wake-up call to Jesus to expand his ministry. We are on the same page!

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    Dorothy Marshall says:

    Amen! Slowly, we will have women deacons, and God, she only knows when priesthood will also be available.

    Reply
  3. Avatar
    Kristin A Shewfelt says:

    Thank you for this article. The women leaders of the Black Lives Matter movement certainly deserve all our admiration and respect. What they have done has radically provided a pathway to much-overdue and needed change in this country. But I also think that their initial desire to remain anonymous was intentional and strategic. They spurred a mass movement of the people and by the people. Yes, let’s honor these courageous, eloquent and remarkable women, but the generosity of their initial self-effacement gave a voice to so many.

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    • Avatar
      RJ Andes says:

      The women are also responsible for my neighborhood getting torched and my innocent black neighbors situation getting worse,

      they weren’t there when a retired law abiding Black man lost his live by a looter.

      they weren’t there for the Black children that aren’t here because of the lack of police resourses taken by protests.

      they weren’t there when a Black man was attacked over signs

      they are not coming out telling people not to loot or commit crimes

      they haven’t yet to tell BLM organizers to stop promoting and encouraging violence against innocent home owners

      they have yet to call out the celebrating of the loss of live of police officers, a patriot and a 5 year old white child to name a few

      they are not saying anything about Black people getting racial words said to them just because they don’t agree with BLM, only last night a Black woman was surrounded while in her car by protesters saying racial insults to her.

      Justice should be served with certain cases but not all were innocent, maybe listening and not resisting could of prevented a lot of heartache and sending race relations back. Crime and homicides are escalating to dangerous levels that some states will not recover for years and all this for something that isn’t even there.

      Sadly we are all be played as fools into hammering that wedge even further and it will be that far we’ll never recover, the country is on it’s knees burning down, running with blood and tears. I may not agree about BLM but if it was ABLM that included my Black Live and my Black neighbors Lives I would be happy. But we can’t be upset about other races that say there live matters or back the blue because we are promoting a double standard and as a Black man it makes me look bad.

      Reply
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    Dr.Cajetan Coelho says:

    Alicia Garza, Opal Tometi, and Patrisse Cullors gave voice to the voiceless. May their tribe increase.

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      RJ Andes says:

      Black women had voices a very long time ago ( Civil marches/Slave riots ) and always have plus they don’t need a hate group that trademarks and profits from Black people deaths everytime there is a altercation with the cops and this is a Black man saying it and my live don’t matter unless a cop takes it.

      The Black community don’t accept them that’s why they don’t come round where the real problems are, last time I saw a BLM supporters they were around 80% non-black at a protest in PA, and because I refused to agree and wave a flag I was called a House ( Profanity ) and a Uncle ( You know the rest ).

      The black youth of today are seeing this and thinking it’s the future, but why don’t Asians riot when they were targeted in LA ? , why don’t Latinx riot over certain stereotypical incidents ? why don’t whites riot when a death occurs by cops swatting ? Exactly it is only a problem when it’s MY race, we are not weak or unintelligent but instead been opportunist and taking advantage of a death to gain from in , I’m ashamed to be Black and I respect the black people in my community that see whats really happening and not been brainwashed.

      Just a end note these women have there own security, very nice homes and don’t have to deal with the real problems in our black community, just like a certain black mayor that gave security to themselves and other officials while taking the community police force away that protects me and others and will profit. Not everything is the white mans fault.

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    Mr Anon says:

    Jesus was the actual teacher he was testing the faith of the woman just as he did with the epileptic boy and is father. If anything it was the disciples that were annoyed at this time and just wanted to rest and gave Jesus a kind of ultimatum to deal with the woman because she was making a scene and left Jesus without a “choice” and gave in from the demand just to stop the woman from shouting……if anything does this paint the disciples has a bad influence on Jesus and persuade him to complete tasks and miracles he did not want to do, like he was forced. The BLM founders cannot be compared to this woman , Patrisse Cullors admitted to been a trained Marxist and also wants to abolish police and prisons which is dangerous for society and has someone that puts a lot of money ( non-profit ) and spends a lot of time in the Black community I find it appaling that these power hungry people ignore the real victims and concentrate on proven criminals, maybe visit the real Black people who don’t agree with this movement and they are the real victims of racism by there own people when they don’t bow to them it’s shocking to hear and witness.The woman was in survival mode and would do anything to be helped by Jesus it’s a bad comparison and borders insulting to try to compare her anguish to this movement and it’s sad that Jesus was used has a tool yet again to try make a point. God Bless nice writing poor choice of context.

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