Jesus’ encounter with the Canaanite woman (Matthew 15:21-28) appears brutal, and one that puts him in the position of being corrected. Is this so? reading the passage in the narrative flow of the gospel suggests that this might be an opportunity for him to undo the presumptions of many of his hearers/disciples as the scope of mission expands out to include all nations, from the initial focus on Galilee…to all nations….
In many ways, this short echoes the longer and complex argument of Romans 9-11 where Paul addresses the inclusion of non-Jews within the promises of God. Both Paul and Matthew’s Jesus have a vision for the world in which all are invited into God’s love
Picture from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Folio_164r_-_The_Canaanite_Woman.jpg
Les Très Riches Heures du duc de Berry, Folio 164r
The accounts of Jacob wrestling God (Genesis 32:22-31), the Feeding of the 5000 (Matthew 14:13-21) and the Transfiguration ( Mark 9:2-10)-all which collide on today’s lectionary- are reminders that God is closer to us than we sometimes think. Wrestling, eating and direct vision of God all point to this truth. The stories also remind us that such encounters may be strange and unexpected. The story of Jacob in particular stresses that our relationship with God is not something which is realised in passivity, but that we need to work hard at it so that we may experience the promise and transformation that God has in mind for us.
Picture from: https://theschoolofthetransferofenergy.com/tag/jacob-wrestling-with-god/