20th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Ages 3-6): Who Does Jesus Help?
(Adults, children of this age usually pray in thanksgiving and praise unless taught otherwise by adults. They enjoy a time of unwavering trust in the relationship they have with God. In this week's Gospel, the woman prays a petitionary prayer. I will not dwell on her petition, therefore, but on the help that Jesus gives to her. You could begin by reading the Gospel aloud to the child. Alternatively, you could read the first paragraph of the reflection to the child, then read the Gospel, and then continue with the reflection.)
Last week we saw that nothing--not wind and waves--could keep the Good Shepherd away from his sheep. Jesus had to be with his disciples who were in trouble. When Peter was sinking and cried out to Jesus, Jesus helped him immediately. Now we know that the Good Shepherd helps his sheep and the disciples. We can start to wonder if there is anyone else the Good Shepherd helps.
In the Gospel this week, when a woman comes to him for help for her daughter, Jesus mentions his sheep again,
“I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
The woman must wonder where these sheep are. Usually, sheep are in fields. Jesus is not in a field but walking on the streets of the town. Where are his sheep? In fact, we don't ever see Jesus with sheep. I wonder who these sheep are?
The woman must think, I don't care about lost sheep, I care about my daughter who is not well. I wonder if she thinks Jesus is not paying attention. She asks him for help again.
she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.”
The woman is on her knees now. Why does she do that? She makes herself small before Jesus. She knows he is so good, so great, and she shows this by getting on her knees before him.
What else does she know?
She knows he can help her, doesn't she? While he is talking about sheep, she reminds him that it is her daughter who needs help. And what does Jesus do?
Jesus answered her, “Woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.” And her daughter was healed instantly.
Jesus helps the woman whose daughter was unwell.
So now we know that Jesus helps his lost sheep, the disciples, and a mother with an unwell child. Does he help anyone else?
He is so good, so great--we can make ourselves small before him, too, can't we? Where would you like to get on your knees before him?