The “Dog-Woman” of Mt 15:21-28 – Chapter 2 summary


There are different versions of the commentary on the “Dog-Woman” that I’ve worked on over the years, some being extensive and detailed productions of exegesis ripping to shreds politically correct non-sense, some being simple summaries. Here’s a summary of what is presented in the Gospel of Matthew. Perhaps it’s not very convincing in that there is no detail. Perhaps it’s not very enthralling in that there is no detail. But you’ll be able to see where I’m going with this, or better, where I’m being led by the text itself.

“Dog-Woman” Mt 15:21-28 – Ch 2 summary (pdf)

Some have asked why I think the “Dog-Woman” (always in scare-quotes by the way) is a young unwed mother. Well, that comes with an analysis of the details as being the scenario that answers the most questions with the most consistency.

Some have asked why I say that she is at the concentric epicenter of both the Gospels of Matthew and Mark. Let’s use letters for “passages”; what it means is that the Gospels from beginning to end are set up like this with J10 being the passage about the “Dog-Woman”:

Aa Ba Ca Da Ea Fa Ga Ha Ia J10 Ib Hb Gb Fb Eb Db Cb Bb Ab

When I first took a look at the “Dog-Woman” I was stunned by her purity of heart and agility of soul and her profound and joyful and trusting friendship with the Lord Jesus. That’s what brought me to do the more detailed exegesis which I’ll be working on in theses days, perhaps splitting up this one chapter into a few. After some years, I’m being drawn in once again to witness to this great woman of faith and the friendship she has with Jesus.

Some have asked what she has to do with discernment for the seminarian-Apostles. We’ll, they need to learn to listen. People don’t like this topic right now because some think Pope Francis is listening too much. Enough is enough! But let’s just pause for a moment and see what Jesus does with the “Dog-Woman” for the sake of their vocations.


Filed under Dog-Woman, Missionaries of Mercy

9 responses to “The “Dog-Woman” of Mt 15:21-28 – Chapter 2 summary

  1. nancyv

    good gravy! (appropriate exclamation?:) This is helping me greatly for my next visit to our Lord in Confession! Thank you Fr. George.

  2. “Dog- Woman” and seminarian-Apostle begins to make sense now!

  3. I would say that the “Dog-Woman” Is also a very brave, determined, bold and probably desperate woman. From what I gather, even today in that part of the world women are prohibited from speaking to men in public (at least in some places) I would suspect the standards were even more strict back then. So, for her to address Jesus unbidden and in a sense argue with Him shows she not only believed He could heal her baby but she was desperate enough not to care about the punishment for breaking the social taboo, (speaking to a man who was not her husband or son). In other words she had nothing to loose. Her reality was worse than the potential punishment. She was willing to argue for what she needed. I think she had a lot of courage and I think Jesus respected/admired her for that

  4. monicaharris58

    I like the bit about “o lord come to my assistance” which always starts out Vespers and other parts of divine office

  5. Monica Harris

    “Are there not also many like the seminarian-Apostles whom we know and before whom we can put our faith into action, having them learn, at whatever cost to us, a greater friendship with the Lord Jesus?” still pondering that question…hmmm. Needs some humility, darn it.

  6. elizdelphi

    I read this yesterday but felt unequipped to comment much. There is so much food for thought. I could not decide if I exactly liked the idea that the tables are turned on the “seminarian-Apostles” who are themselves the “little lap dogs” who are much slower to understand than the woman. I think the question seems to hinge on whether the woman, who obviously has faith, is really a daughter of Israel or if she is a “God-fearing” foreigner. To me, the tension of the scene seems like it hinges on this.

    I have always heard it said that the Jews referred to non-Jews sometimes as dogs or other unclean animals, so I assume Jesus’ statement to be a reflection of the Apostles’ thoughts about the woman (who is also running after them calling out like a dog chasing them and barking) which He knows and indeed wants to be challenged. To me, the way I have interpreted it myself, the crux of the matter is that the Son of David is king of Israel (ie, the Bridegroom is for the bride and none other), and the woman whom I would assume to be a non-Jewish “God-fearer” does know her stuff or have great intuition and (besides the fact that Jesus is looking at her, and per St John of the Cross “for God, to look is to love” so she knows she is loved by Him even as He is saying this) draws on the fact that the Covenant people are to be a blessing to all the families of the earth, and therefore to her and her daughter. So I do see it as having a lot to do with Jesus universalizing the Covenant in His own blood. I don’t know why I see it that way, some combination of things I have heard about it and my own meditations on this scene. So in this view, certainly the Apostles learn something from this woman, but it would be mainly that the Messiah is not just for Israel but for all people who have faith in Him. However, I am not sure how incompatible these thoughts of mine are and what you say in the chapter 2 summary are incompatible, except the issue of whether she is or is not a daughter of Israel.

  7. elizdelphi

    it is Christmas of course but please do not forget this :-)

    I do like the theme of priests actually listening to women, some do and some do not [… ! …]

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