What would you put on a list of what is most important to you? Perhaps your list would include things like your faith, marriage, children, family, friends, health, job, education.
The woman in the Gospel story whose daughter was possessed by a demon knew what was most important to her: the health of her daughter and her own faith. She attended to what was important to her, even at the risk of failure and humiliation. With her foundation of faith and concern for her daughter, she asked Jesus to expel the demon.
The woman had two things going against her. She was from a foreign country and she was a woman. In the time of Jesus, engagement with people from foreign countries was suspect. Additionally, women were considered to be inferior to men. For her to ask Jesus, a man, for a favor, was forbidden. She was even ignored by Jesus the first time she asked. Yet, she persisted. Eventually, she was praised by Jesus and her daughter was healed.
Sometimes we put off attending to the things that are most important to us. We say we want to wait until we have more time or until the time is right. Or we suspend efforts because of some kind of setback or failure when we tried before. The woman in the story did not let the obstacles or the setbacks stop her from moving forward. She knew what was important to her and she relied on her faith.
When it comes to what is important, the only right time to do something is now because it is the only time we have for sure. Certainly, this time of the pandemic has prompted many of us to really think about what is important to us. Many of us have valued, perhaps as never before, our families, friends, faith and health. Inspired by the woman of amazing faith in the Gospel, we are invited to renew our efforts to act with patience, take the initiative to heal hurts, reconcile divisions and pay attention to cries for help. If we have had past setbacks or failures in these efforts, we are in good company with the woman in the Gospel and are on the same track with the rest of humanity that is rarely successful the first time around.
Of utmost importance in our world today is the creation of a COVID-19 vaccine, more medicines to treat the virus and breakthroughs in healing the ills of our society. While vaccines and medicines may be for others to create, each of us can do something about those things that are important to us. With God’s help, our good efforts will bring health, healing and hope now to a world so in need of them.
Together in faith,
Very Rev. Christopher Smith, Rector