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Reading of Matthew 15:12-28

As many know I consider this text my signature text. Jesus was oppressive to the Syro-Phoenician/Canaanite Woman. She was an immigrant who cross the border to get health care. She brings to memory of all Immigrants, legal and undocumented who migrate to the United States, Europe and Canada for opportunities and things that they need such as education, careers. and healthcare, that they otherwise would not get in their home countries because of colonialism and neo colonialism. Immigrants from Central and South America, the Caribbean, Africa and Asia. Immigrating for health care, education and economic opportunities that often are not there because of policies that is destructive to them which was given by colonial and neo-colonial masters. Sometimes they immigrate because to escape drugs and violence caused or made worse by the masters. Coming into countries that are not their own for help. This was the Syro-Phoenician/ Canaanite woman’s dilemma. She is triple oppressed, she is a woman, from a different ethnicity and from a different religion and most likely twice oppressed by both the Romans and the Jews like many immigrants. If you go back to biblical history c.f the Book of Joshua , you would understand that the Canaanites were the inhabitants of the land. They were conquered , killed and enslaved by the Israelites because they wanted the land and they worshiped different religions and oppressed by the Romans who conquered that same land and who probably treated them like crap. Immigrants are sometimes twice oppressed especially Muslims and Black immigrants. Muslims are oppressed because they are foreigners and they are not Christians, Latin Americans, Afro Caribbean, Africans and other people of color who immigrant are also twice oppressed they are foreigners and people of color and sometimes triple oppressed if they are non Christian. They migrate to for health care, education, jobs and to escape violence, just like the Syro- Phoenician woman. Jesus tells her he cannot give the crumbs of the children of Israel to the dogs basically calling her a bitch and withholding health care from her. Immigrants know people who act like Jesus everyday , being accused of taking the jobs, being accused of being welfare and even being accused of thinking we are better than others and being accused that we benefit from people’s struggles, being accused of taking scholarships even though many immigrants work hard to get these scholarships. Immigrants are being called “dogs” and being told we cannot get the crumbs from all sides, from everyone, being accused you not black enough, being accused of being too black, among other accusations. I can imagine how that woman felt when Jesus told her what he did. She needed something not for her but for her daughter and Jesus is accusing her of taking away healthcare from the children of Israel, even though this woman needed it. This what immigrants put with all time. However,like many immigrants, the Syro-Phoenician woman stood her ground and let him know all though she was not Jewish or a man or worshiped the same gods as he, her life mattered and she was a human being. The Canaanite woman probably did not to leave her home, just like most immigrants documented and undocumented, they left for better opportunities whether is health care, education, economic prospects or to escape violence and drugs. Because they came , it doesn’t mean they are less than. Jesus seeing the woman’s persistence, the woman letting him know that she mattered, he relented and healed her daughter. Jesus learned from an immigrant, a woman, someone from another ethnicity and someone who worshiped differently than him, that her life matter and that everyone deserves the same opportunities as others and that he shouldn’t discriminate. We have people who claim to follow Jesus with the same attitudes as him but what they are missing from this text , is that Jesus learnt. If we going say all life matters, then we better act like all life matters which includes Blacks, Muslims, Hispanics and other immigrants. This episode in Jesus’ ministry set the tone for the rest of his ministry. A Jesus who cared and helped everyone. In my Gandhi voice, “ I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” but I digress…………………



This post first appeared on Musing Thoughts, please read the originial post: here

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Reading of Matthew 15:12-28

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