How can a teenager lift a 3,000-pound tractor with his bare hands? Especially a teenager who is not a weightlifter?
A while ago, on a farm near Rome, Maine, teenage Arthur Hinkley sprang into action when he heard his friend Lloyd Bachelder scream from under such a tractor, and somehow, he lifted the tractor enough for Lloyd to wriggle out. According to Calvin Miller, who published the story, love motivated and enabled Arthur to do the unthinkable to free his friend.
The woman in today’s Gospel was heroic when motivated by love. As a woman in the Hebrew culture, she could not speak to a man in public. Also, she was asking a favor for a girl. In addition, she was a Canaanite, a foreigner, and a Gentile. Canaanites and Hebrews had been enemies for centuries. From her perspective, her circumstances were against her. But for love, she dared. She dared to ask.
Love was the driving force. She was full of love for her daughter. This love motivated her to take bold steps without concern for herself. She was willing to be vulnerable. She was willing to be humiliated for what she wanted. She was blind to shame, humiliation, and arguments. As Jesus speaks to this woman, His words appear harsh even to our ears. His words must have shaken her to the very core of her being.
Any barrier can be crossed when love and faith are in action. She was even ready to be considered as a dog taking food crumbs thrown out from the children’s table, all for her daughter’s healing.
In a more current setting, the body of a young Japanese mother was found in the cracks of her ruined house after a massive earthquake struck Japan on March 11, 2011. The collapsed house had crushed her back and head, and she appeared to be kneeling over something. Under his mother’s dead body, they found a three-month-old boy wrapped in a flowery blanket. Inside the blanket, there was a cell phone with a text message. If you survive, remember that I love you” Obviously, the woman had made the ultimate sacrifice in saving her son.
The news of a devastating earthquake that hit Turkey and Syria is very fresh in our minds. Two stories that were carried by television struck me as I was reflecting on today’s Gospel, one that of a woman who delivered a baby under the debris of the building that crushed her and the second of the lifeless bodies of a dad and mom in loving embrace, in the middle of them was their child, sadly the child too was not alive. God help them.
Reflecting on the actions of the two mothers, the teenager, and these earthquake victims, I wonder why some mothers even consider killing their unborn babies. Much less carry through with an abortion. Do not let a day pass without showing your love and faith in action. Let us not leave a stone unturned for the best that we desire for our loved ones, just like the Canaanite woman.
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About Father Boby John, C.S.C.
Father Boby John, C.S.C., ordained a priest in the Congregation of Holy Cross in 2008, worked as a pastor and as an educator with tribal populations in Northeast India for thirteen years. Originally from Kerala, India, Father Boby grew up with three siblings. He is a dedicated and detailed educationist with experience in educational leadership. He is currently working as an executive assistant at the world headquarters of Holy Cross Family Ministries, North Easton, Massachusetts.