Parable of the Children and Dogs

Matthew 15; Mark 7

Parable addressed to a Canaanite woman who, taking advantage of Jesus’ presence near Tyre and Sidon, besought Him to cast a devil out of her daughter. Jesus at first refuses because it is God’s will that the Jews, as the chosen people, must first be served the bread of the children of the household, i.e., the benefits, whether spiritual or physical, Jesus had been sent to bestow on man. Only later is salvation to be offered to the Gentiles who by their idolatrous worship and low standard of morals had made themselves like to the despised, half-wild dogs of the East that prowl about the streets and feed on carrion. Faith, humility, and persevering prayer, however, such as that of this woman, merit better treatment than that accorded to the ordinary run of men, and to her, the whelp, was thrown a large crumb from the delicacies the children actually failed to appreciate. Great is the power of faith: for lack of it, the Jews who once boasted of being the chosen sons of God are cast off as the dogs of the street; for being strong in it the Gentiles, once treated as dogs, become through the good offices of Holy Mother Church sons of God and heirs of heaven.