Matthew tells a story about a non-Jewish woman who sought a cure from Jesus. His initial response to her helps define what we know of Jesus’ purpose on earth, namely the appeal to his own people to repent so as to pass the final judgment and enter into eternal happiness. Only at the end of the Gospel does Matthew present Jesus as looking to the Gentiles for conversion. This way of presenting Jesus leaves no doubt that Jesus intended the salvation of his own people. This was a clarification for Matthew’s time when accusations rose to say that Jesus really came only for the Gentiles, the majority of the Christians in Matthew’s era being Gentiles. Matthew continually answers throughout the Gospel the objections to belief in Jesus posed particularly to his Christian Jewish audience, a minority of Jews, by the larger number of non-Christian Jews. That Jesus did work his cure for the woman of the Gospel does not mean to undermine the teaching of the Gospel we have just described; rather, the point is finally made that any cure is the result of faith in Jesus. Lack of faith means one should turn to someone other than Jesus for happiness. Faith here involves conviction that God works through Jesus. Christian faith today is bolstered by this old Gospel teaching. A human being goes where happiness can be found; we say firmly, daily that this ’where’ is Jesus. John Kilgallen, SJ

Comments

Anonymous | 8/19/2008 - 9:09pm
it is my question of care. Does GOD really care that i want something? Does he care that he made me this way in the first place? Does he care if anything good ever happens in my life? O i know he made me and that is better to be than not to be but that is philosophical the meaning of his life in this gospel and in every gospel the meaning of his death which is part of his life GOD in Jesus does care and his death seals this truth