The Second Sunday in Lent

Today’s Reading: Matthew 15:21-28

Daily Lectionary: Genesis 16:1-9,15-17:22; Mark 6:1-13

And she said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.” (Matthew 15:27)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. You may hear people talk about their faith with words like this. “I really believe!” “I have faith.” “I believe in God.” “I’ve given my heart to God.” “My faith will get me through it.” Faith just means trusting in something. The thing about faith is that you can tell what a person is trusting in by what they talk about.

This woman who cried out for Jesus’ help had faith in Jesus. We see that because she didn’t talk about herself. She didn’t say, “Lord, I really believe” or “Lord, I have faith that you’ll do this.” She says, “Call me a dog, and I’ll be a dog. But even dogs get crumbs.” It’s another way of saying, “I’m not asking because of me, Lord, I’m asking because You are You. The Savior. That’s what you do. Save. Even if just a little bit, that’s good enough to save my daughter.”

True faith trusts in Jesus. Talks about Jesus. Confesses Jesus. Never itself. True faith rejoices that Jesus is the Son of God who came as a man to suffer and die for our sins. To take them away. To take our place. To rise again and conquer death. True faith boasts in the waters of Holy Baptism, the powerful Word of Holy Absolution and the saving mystery of Christ’s Body and Blood given us to eat and drink in the Sacrament of the Altar.

Test this. Ask the question of yourself or someone else: “Are you saved? Are you a Christian? Are your sins forgiven?” Faith that trusts in itself says, “Yes, because I believe. Yes, I made a choice. Yes, I have faith.” Faith that trusts in Jesus says, “Absolutely! Christ died and rose for me. He washed me, forgives me and feeds me. I’m a dog, but dogs get crumbs and the crumbs of Jesus are enough to save me and give me eternal life!”

In Lent, learn to pray as this woman does, coming to God not on the basis of herself but on the basis of His mercy and grace. That’s faith in action. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

O God, our heavenly Father, seeing that of ourselves we have no strength, keep us both outwardly and inwardly that we may be defended from all adversities that may happen to the body and from all evil thoughts that may assault and hurt the soul; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. (Collect for Lent 2)

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