COR THOUGHTS 217: Unity-in-Distinction

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The common theme in each of the readings this weekend is the unity of Jew and Gentile in God’s plan of salvation. As with all true unities, however, it is a “unity-in-distinction.” Jesus drives this point home in a rather dramatic way in his treatment of the Canaanite woman who pleads for his help. Jesus first states that he was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel, even comparing this Canaanite to a “dog” that shouldn’t get the food of the children of Israel. Yikes! Is Jesus really so insulting and heartless? Impossible. He’s testing her. And we have much to learn from her persistence! Jesus assures her she’s “passed the test” when he calls her “woman” – a term of deep love and affection that takes us back to Genesis and the joy that Adam took in beholding his bride, calling her “woman.” There is a distinction between Jew and Gentile, just as there is between man and woman. These distinctions should never be blurred, for it is precisely these distinctions that enable a true unity. Only in this light can we understand Saint Paul’s teaching that there is neither Jew nor Gentile, male or female, for all are “one in Christ Jesus” (Gal 3:28).