Suggesting Jesus rebuffed the Canaanite woman because he was prejudiced?
And he only gave in to get rid of her? Nuts.
This is why little kids understand much more than those who are wise and learned.
Jesus could have said to the Canaanite woman, "I heard you the first time, your daughter is healed." But he didn't. Sometimes we need to prolong our prayer, sometimes we are not ready to receive what Christ has in store for us. We need to pray incessantly, even though we may not be perfect, even though we might be praying for someone else, or even when we pray for selfish motives. Prayer clarifies our intentions, it purifies our desires. I'm not saying this is what this Gospel is all about, but neither do I think it is about Jesus learning to overcome prejudice.
If anything, the disciples may have learned something about prejudice and Christ's mission to the Gentiles in and through this experience, but Christ knew well what was going on. He never had to 'learn' something in this encounter. The entire notion is absurd.
Christ is Teacher. Christ is Pantocrator.
He was teaching. It seems to me he wanted to draw out the faith of this woman, who recognized he was Lord and could - or would - heal her daughter. When he spoke of throwing bread to the dogs, he indeed meant the unbelievers, but a little child knows he could not be harsh, or cruel to the woman whose faith he was drawing forth for all to see and marvel at. Some say the word for dog Christ used was not the same word for the wild dogs who roamed the city, but a house dog, a domesticated dog. This interpretation seems to be clarified by the woman's response, 'Yes Lord, but even the dogs eat the leavings at their master's table.' Indeed, as one priest noted in his homily this past weekend, the house dogs were thrown bits from the table, even juicy morsels. Hence the exchange between Christ and the woman was actually quite homely, and kind. As well as direct and frank.
He treated the Canaanite woman with kindness, with love. He most likely couldn't wait for the encounter to begin. He ignored the meanness of the disciples who wanted nothing to do with her. Rather, I'm convinced he was instructing them, just as he set an example for us. He was teaching them as he was teaching us - with love. His humanity was and is all love. When he spoke with the Samaritan woman - he didn't rebuke her, but credited her good conscience when he recognized her honesty in admitting she had no husband. He never condemned her, but drew from her a confession, and awakened in her the gift of faith. Similar to the woman caught in adultery. Was he harsh in telling her to go and sin no more? Not at all.
We need to believe in love, in merciful love.
All of these women are saints now - but when they first encountered Christ they were not yet perfect, Jesus made them so. He inspired and perfected their faith - and instructed and strengthened the faith of the disciples and other witnesses who looked on in surprise that he would associate with sinners and pagans. Yes, Jesus is fully God and fully man - and to be sure, he was neither insulting the Canaanite woman or her paganism, nor was he 'other directed' and/or subject to cultural bias. It flies in the face of what he stated emphatically in John's Gospel, 'No one who comes to me will I ever reject.'
"When the Son of Man returns, will he find any faith?"
The dog who goes to Mass everyday?