The Syro-Phoenician Woman*


If you need any proof

that Jesus was human

that he grew and learned

from experience like us


pick up the Gospel

to Matthew Fifteen

and study the story

of the Canaanite women

pleading with Jesus

for the life of her daughter.


By culture and temperament

the Messiah’s world view

was constrained by the boundaries

of his Jewish upbringing,

his mission circumscribed

to the chosen of Yahweh,

not to the gentile house-dogs

that hailed from the foreign northwest.


On her knees in his face

her faith broke through

barriers of belief and religion,

the hesitancy deep in his heart,

and Jesus suddenly discovered

himself the savior of all humankind.


No small feat for a nameless

Canaanite woman willing to move

heaven and earth for her child

who talked a reluctant Messiah

into a spontaneous healing

and changed his salvific perspective forever.


                        Jerome L. McElroy



*Accepted in Iconoclast (July 2010).