Fr. Sanctus Mario
Inspiration and Bible Reflections

Stand Firm and Persevere In Your Faith. 20th Sunday Year A

Sunday Breakfast with the Word 20th Sunday Ordinary Time of the Year A

Stand Firm and Persevere In Your Faith.

Isaiah 56:1,6-7, Romans 11:13-15,29-32, Matthew 15:21-28.



I once read the success story of the book “Chicken Soup for the Soul” written by Jack Canfield, the co-creator and Mark Victor Hansen. Today, this book is one of the most powerful inspirational books around the world. It is now published in series. 


If what happened to these great authors happen to many of us,  many would have give up our dreams and curse God several times. By now, many of us would have concluded that God does not love them. Some will lose faith, and begin to join the band “let us go back to our roots”. 


Jack and Mark took their time and wrote the first set of Chicken Soup for the Soul. The first publisher they took the book to publish for them, laughed and mocked them. The publisher belittled them and made a joke about the name of the book. Imagine calling a book such a name. 



They later took the book to more than 130 publishers. None of the publishers saw the book as interesting. This continued to the extent they were tempted to lose faith in themselves when their agent dropped them as well.



 Imagine you in that kind of condition. By now, you would have stopped praying thinking that God hated you and wanted just bad luck for you. Despite these, these authors were determined. They continued to stand firm and persevere in their faith. 



Luckily, their book was picked up by a small publisher in Florida. Today, there are over 700 million copies of this book sold worldwide. They became highly popular, attended events, seminars and were honoured with a lot of awards. This is the kind of result that comes from a determined heart. 



Now the question we would ask today is “What if they had given up, the success that later came to them would not have happened. Behind many successful stories are years of rejection, failures and challenges but also years of full determination to stand firm and persevere in faith. 



In the gospel today, the Canaanite woman teaches us the need to stand firm and persevere in our faith even when it seems God is silent to our prayers, even when everybody wants to keep us to the ground or shut us up, We do not have to ever give up! 



Could you imagine if Jack and Mark quit on the 130th publisher? Where would their lives be now?


The Canaanite woman reveals to us first the true nature of God. Secondly, the way to approach God, and the attitude we must maintain when it seems nothing is working. 


Then finally, she teaches us what truly results from that determined heart that is ready to keep on resting in the powerful arms of God without giving up on Him. 


The woman reveals to us the true meaning of ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, knock and it shall be opened to you. If you have a strong vision and clear goals, never stop until you achieve them. Nobody can stop a person whose heart is already convinced. 



The Canaanite Woman debates with Jesus and saves Her Daughter.



In the gospel, Jesus leaves Gennesaret and goes to the region of Tyre and Sidon. In essence, Jesus leaves Jewish territory and crosses over into the non-Jewish territory of Tyre and Sidon.


There, a woman from that district comes and starts to shout “Sir, Son of David have pity on me. My daughter is tormented by the devil”. 

At first, Jesus does not show any sign of response to her. His disciples plead with him to give her what she wants. Jesus responds to them that He was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 



Then the woman comes up and kneels at His feet and said “Lord help me”, Still, Jesus says that it is not fair, to take the children’s food and throw it to the house-dogs. Still, the woman retorts that even house dogs can eat the scraps that fall from their master’s table. 



At this point, Jesus praises the faith of the woman for being so great and asks her to go that her wish has been granted.


This woman’s faith was so resolute that She decided never to leave the presence of Jesus until what She wanted was granted.

This is a replica of what Jacob did in Genesis 32:26 when He said to the angel “I will never let you go unless you bless me”.


These teach us the need to remain resolute even when we do not see any signs of change, even when 130 publishers showed a lack of interest like in the case of Jack and Mark, we have to stand firm and persevere, in what we are doing. Perseverance in faith always ends well. Let us analyse the readings bit by bit.



Jesus Welcomes All.


1. The first thing that today’s encounter reveals to us is the nature and heart of Jesus. The woman that approaches Jesus today is not a Jew but from Tyre and Sidon.


These are gentile territories. During the time of Jesus, there was a clear tension between the Gentiles and the Jews. They are despised by the Jews.


The Jews regard the Canaanites as idolaters, pagans and ritually unclean people. In the gospel of Saint Mark, Mark refers to her as a Syrophoenician woman and today’s gospel according to Saint Matthew refers to her as a Canaanite woman. Nationally, She is a Phoenician and ethnically she is a Canaanite. So, she is not a Jew.

 So, one would expect that Jesus would not give the woman a single attention. 

The disturbing part of it was that immediately after Jesus entered the city, the woman came out from nowhere shouting at the top of her voice.


One would also expect Jesus to shut her up. Jesus allowed her. After several tests, Jesus rescued and answered the prayer of the woman. 



2. Jesus does not segregate. In John 6:37, Jesus says that “Whoever comes to me, I will never drive away” (John 6:37). 

Even in the first reading, despite that God chooses Israel as His people, God says through Isaiah that any foreigner who attaches himself to Him to serve Him and to love His name and be His servant, cling to His covenant, HE will surely bring to His holy mountain. God promises to them joy. He will accept their holocausts and their sacrifices. 


The woman that approaches Jesus today is a pagan. But today’s encounter shows that God opens His arms for everybody, who desires to come to Him. In the first reading, He says that His house will be called a house of prayer for all the people.



3. This is to inspire us to continue to seek the presence of God. God is not wicked. He does not discriminate. When you go to Him, always stand firm and persevere in your faith. He is interested in you. 



When We Encounter Troubling Challenges.



There are times we encounter troubling challenges. There we conclude there is nothing to be done about it, we lose faith and stop praying.


The Bible did not tell us today how many years the girl who was demon-possessed has been sick, but from the mother’s approach, you would understand that she was already distressed.


Today, must be the first time she heard about Jesus and she does not doubt whatever she heard about Jesus, She simply approached Him with a bold and firm belief that something must be done for her.


The Canaanite woman teaches us what to do when we encounter troubling challenges and they:




1. Bring the Problem to Jesus.



Today, many people are so desperate to find solutions to their problems. We have tried our possible best but nothing seems to be happening. Remember to bring the problem to Jesus Christ.


Write a letter to Him in the Blessed Sacrament if you want. Forget whatever you have heard from antichrists or those who no longer have faith in Christianity, always understand that there is power in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. 



That Woman who meets Jesus today must have tried a lot of solutions but nothing worked. Immediately She heard that Jesus was around, and she told herself that this must be her day.


Our Jesus has also been sitting there in the Blessed sacrament but no one seeks to visit Him. Can we for one day decide to bring our issues to Him, listen to Him and ask for His grace? 


1b. Like the Woman, let us not fold our hands in the times of trouble. Let us come out of our comfort zones and seek for solution. We may find it where we least expect.



2. Believe and Never doubt the Word of God.



In the gospel, one would imagine how the Canaanite woman came to know about Jesus. She is not a Jew or a disciple of Jesus. 


How come she came to understand that Jesus can do what she is asking for? The probable answer to this is that this woman must have been told about Jesus. She has heard about what Jesus did and she was already convinced that the person she is approaching can listen to her. 



Unlike Bartimaeus in Mark 10:46-52, this woman did not address Jesus by His name. Bartimaeus shouted “Jesus Son of David, have mercy on me’ While the Cannanite woman shouted “Sir, son of David have mercy on me”.


So, there is a probability, this woman does not know who Jesus is but came to Jesus from what she heard about Him. Now the question for us is “what have you been hearing about Jesus”? Do you believe in them? If you believe in them, why do you still lose faith?


What did God say about your predicaments? What did God say about those who trust Him with their whole life? 


In Hebrews 11:6, the scripture says “And without faith it is impossible to please God because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”  


Facing challenges does not start with actions. It starts from the mind. The mind must be prepared to go through the tough journey and never give up on our faith. It is in the mind that we must learn to stand firm and then persevere with our actions. 


Weak minds lose faith easily and then blame everybody and circumstances for their problems. They sometimes blame their faith. But tough minds are ready to pass through whatever, understanding fully in their hearts that they are not alone. They know that an unseen hand is gradually moving them. 



When your mind is defeated, you are already defeated. Tough minds grow from what they believe and read. Therefore, when we like this woman strongly believe and accept that no matter what happens, God will see us through, the day our redemption will come will seem like a dream




3. Remain Unstoppable.

When the woman came to Jesus, She shouted, Sir, Son of David, take pity on me. My daughter is tormented by a devil.’ Jesus overlooks her and continues to make his way. He did not give her any response.



 The disciples added more fire when they asked Jesus to attend to the women, Jesus replied to them that He is only sent to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Instead of backing out, the woman added worship to her request. She knelt before Jesus and said “Lord help me”. Still, Jesus replied that it is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the house dogs.


Even with such a comment, the woman could not take such an answer. She continues and retorted that even house dogs can eat the scraps that fall from their master’s table. Jesus praises her faith and grants her wish. 


The woman teaches us that the higher the challenges, the higher our actions, faith, solutions, prayers, requests and worship.

 The time of problems is not a time to give up on God, but rather a time to increase our faith.


 Always remain unstoppable in the face of afflictions. The world has never honoured anyone who gave up on the road, but those who keep fanning their faith into flame until they achieve their aim.


Keep going and never stop. Even if it means to crawl, keep going, keep praying etc. Do not just do one novena and you conclude that God does not want to listen.


When many of us have problems, we will immediately rush to God, and begin a prayer journey or novena. After the novena and nothing seems to happen, they immediately conclude that God is deaf or God is silent to them. 



They go back to square one and stop praying. They think God is a genie or a switch where they can go at any time and switch on and off. 




When they try and it does not work like that, they give up, stop praying and lose faith. In this encounter with the Canaanite woman, we have to know these:


i. God does not promise us an easy world. Always be ready to be challenged once in a while.


ii. When you rush to God’s presence, it is not certain that whatever you ask, you get immediately, No, God is not an ATM or Electrical switch. He can give you a little time just like Jesus did today.


iii. Always get ready to be tested. He will surely test your faith. When your faith passes through this test, prove to God that your love for Him is not conditioned by the challenges of life, but rather by the love you have for Him. 



When you go to God because of a request, a problem or a solution and the solution does not happen exactly how, when and the way you want it, you are likely to lose faith. But when you are motivated by love, nothing can stop you and when nothing stops you, the result can be liberating. 



iv. Let us not expect God to give us what we want immediately we ask of Him. When the woman came to Jesus today, the disciples of Jesus told Jesus to give her what she wants,’ But Jesus said in reply, ‘I was sent only to the lost sheep of the House of Israel.’ Though He did it at last but Jesus is teaching us not to expect that whatever we ask would be granted immediately as we want. God answers when He wants and how he wants. 



v.Finally, the encounter teaches us that the seeming silence from God does not mean that God does not want to answer us. It does not also mean that God does not want us to achieve good things. Remember that, At last, Jesus came through for this woman. 



At that time, it seems God is keeping silent, keep going, keep striving and keep believing. This is the secret of Jack Canfield and Mark Victor. One day the day of breakthrough will come.



 I remembered when I created this particular website. I created it in 2018 just for the fun of it, storing my reflections, until one day I decided to share one. It started with only five views, to 100 views per day. 

Now, this website has touched thousands of lives from different parts of the world, helping many. Always know that there is a time of dryness, a time of harmattan, a time of seemingly God’s silence but these times do not entail that God will not remember you again. The Time of joy and answer to prayers can still come. 



Rejection Is A Chance to Improve.



Many people today hardly face rejection either in their achievements, businesses, and other endeavours. It is a very hard emotion to deal with. 


Many of us will never bear the pains of rejection. It will bring down our motivation, and make us question if we are good enough. One thing we have to imbibe today from this woman is that rejection is a time to improve and change strategies, and then regroup again. 


Rejection does not mean that you are not good enough. Every rejection, every failure, and every letdown is a chance to reconsider, strategize and redecide. 

Sometimes what we learn from rejection, ends up ultimately making us the best version of ourselves. Every good thing does not start with an immediate yes. Sometimes there are thousands of No’s.



2. When the Canaanite woman comes seeking Jesus’ help, she comes to Jesus and cries out, Sir, Son of David, take pity on me. The devil is tormenting my daughter.’ This is the first request. 



Jesus answers her without a word. His disciples plead with him. ‘Give her what she wants,’ Jesus tells them that He is sent only to the lost sheep of the House of Israel.’ 


 The woman who did not take the words of Jesus as rejection came up with another strategy. Instead of shouting from a distance, She came up and knelt at his feet. Then said ‘Lord,’ ‘help me.’ 



Jesus says that “It is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs” The Jews did not like dogs. Wild dogs are seen as dangerous (Psalm. 59:6).  


They also see dogs as unclean, because they eat trash and corpses in the street and on the battlefield (Exodus. 22:31).  

In fact from research, the Jews of Jesus’ day did not keep dogs as pets. Dogs were dirty and despised. They see them as unrighteous and idolaters (Revelation. 22:15). In Matthew. 7:6, Jesus says “Do not give dogs what is holy. 

But nothing can deter this woman from getting help for her daughter, not even Jesus whatever Jesus calls her. 

When Jesus says that, instead of feeling bad, She comes up with another strategy and makes light of the statement.


She says “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from the master’s table”. Even the dogs get the crumbs and eat the leftovers. 


 Therefore, she is saying “Even if it is a tiny morsel of your grace, I am ready to have it”. She is invariably telling Jesus to count her in, even if the least of his blessings. 


Here, we see another strategic way of seeking blessing, bound by humility, faith, love, and total trust in God’s power.

When you pray and it seems nothing is working, change your strategy. Start worshipping instead of asking and begging, or give in to thanksgiving or like the Canaanite woman, tune in to the prayer of mercy. 


The prayer of mercy is very powerful. “Lord have mercy on me” remains the prayer of Bartimaeus (Mark 10:46-52, the repentant thief, the Canaanite woman, David (Psalm 51), Peter after denying Jesus etc). Guess what, God granted all the prayers. 


Lord have mercy on me is a prayer of the Holy Mass, a prayer that God loves. Or You can also start praying for others that have the same problem as you or you tune in to charity and sacrifices. All these have great power. 



3. Finally, when you also seek something and it seems your strategy is not working, go back and regroup, and find another way to go there. Emulate the ants. Never take rejection as the last option, it could be telling you to change a strategy. Always stand firm and persevere in your faith.



Faith Starts From the Beginning and Not at the End.


Many Christians think that the time to have faith is when you have prayed or when you are praying. Faith has to start from the beginning and at the end.


Hebrews 11 defines faith as confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. Verse 6 of Hebrews 11 says “Anyone who comes to God must first of all believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him”. This is the first. 


 We see a clear example of faith in John 2 when the Blessed Virgin Mary knows actually that the hour of his son has not come, yet she approaches Him.


When her Son, told her  that his hour has not yet come, she still tells the servants to do whatever He tells them.

She believes initially that her son will always grant her request.

In today’s encounter, the first question we have to ask is “Where is the demon-possessed Girl?” “Why did the woman not come with her to meet Jesus?” “Does it mean she knows that Jesus would just tell her to go and like he did, my answer is no.


She came to Jesus knowing fully well that whatever Jesus would tell her would be a good result.

Therefore, She did not stress herself coming with the demon-possessed girl. She had faith from the beginning, through the process and towards the end.


When Jesus tested her faith, She stood firm still. When Jesus asked her to go, that her daughter would be well, she did not seek a sign like Zechariah, nor ask for a conviction since Jesus is yet to meet the daughter, rather she ran home believing that what Jesus tells her will come to pass.


Before you come to his presence, do not immediately conclude that God is deaf and does not answer prayers, then you begin to struggle to believe while praying.


Faith must begin the process. This is applicable in every life endeavour we want to undertake. 






Many of us today believe that we do not deserve the goodness of God, maybe either because of our past mistakes or what we think we could not do well.


When many come to God’s presence, they will begin to remember all the bad lives they lived in the past and believe that their prayers are a waste. We have to note today that in the presence of Jesus, mercy is abundant. There is no discrimination. His hands are open to everyone.


The ethnic background of this woman who everybody considers as pagan, idolaters, and unrighteous people did not deter Jesus from saving her. Always stand firm and persevere even if you have bottled it several times. Pick up again and rise. God loves you. He does not hate you.


2. When you think that God is not answering your prayers, stand firm and persevere in your faith. Keep praying, and keep doing novenas. One day, one will lift you. Keep finding solutions, keep affirming the goodness of God, and praise and thank Him.


Read the parable of the persistent widow in Luke 18:1-8. Jesus advises us to pray always. Jesus does not advise us to pray only in the time of need. He does not tell us to stop praying when we do not get what we want.

Rather, He encourages us to stand firm and persevere in faith, never giving up on God. In the end, what Jesus praises today is the faith of this woman. Read the parable of the persistent widow in  Luke 18:1-8 for another example Jesus highlighted about steadfastness in our prayer life. The Lord cherishes a person whose faith keeps compelling them to come to Him.


We define Faith as passing through all the testing processes, yet we stand firm. This is what elevated Abraham, David, Job, the Blessed Virgin Mary Etc. When it comes to things of God, giving up should not be an option. 



3. Do Not Ignore Others as well. When you have any single opportunity to touch lives, do not waste it. When you have any single opportunity to do good, always be free and do it. God works in mysterious ways. If we imbibe the spirit of saving one another, and not ignoring them, the world would be a better place. 




4. Do not always take everything seriously. The Canaanite woman knew who she was talking to: the One who gives generously even to the littlest and weakest among us.


She was there to receive from His hand whatever He saw fit to give her. Regardless of your situation, remember who you are talking to.


Always try and make light of some situations. If many of us were in the position of this woman and Somebody referred to you as a dog, I believe that this must end in a fight.


Some people would say “Is it because I asked you for ordinary help” “They will finish Jesus up today. Rather, this woman knows that Jesus is not insulting her, rather Jesus could be testing her faith. Let us learn to understand people before we conclude. Do not always pick up a fight against the wrong person. 




5. Be contented and thankful for whatever the Lord sees fit to give you. I once told some people that the reason we do not appreciate God is because we overlook many things that He does for us.


We sometimes take the blessings of God for granted. Instead of showing how grateful for the little we have, we become ungrateful because want to ride the best cars, be in the best houses and be the number one. Without that, we continue to put ourselves under unnecessary pressure.


The Canaanite woman teaches us to be contented. She declares that she would be content with crumbs because even God’s crumbs are more than enough.

Whatever He chooses to give us, let us learn to appreciate Him. The more you appreciate Him for the little that you have, the more He gives us the more.


6. Finally, what if we apply all the faith, persistence, and consistency and still nothing will happen? What if God’s answer is No? What if we pray that something happens, yet another thing will happen? Or what if you pray that someone does not die, yet he or she dies?

And you do all the fasting and prayer, book masses, do novena during the time of His sick bed, yet God takes him or her.


What if you pray for someone that God heals him or her of cancer, yet he or she dies? Now, does that mean that our prayers, persistence, faith and trust do not count?


Does it mean that our faith is not big enough like that of the Canaanite woman? Okay does it mean that God is not powerful enough to do what we are asking for or to help us stop an evil overshadowing us? Maybe God does not care?


I have seen many people mock Christianity and underrate it, yet God seems to keep silent. Does it mean He cannot make a name again for Himself? When these and more happen to you, still hang your faith in Him. 


Even if it is certain that God is not going to give us what we ask, losing faith can never be an option. Rather with humility, we join our prayer with that of Jesus at the garden of Gethsemane, when He says In Matthew 26:39, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”


When we think we have reached our limit, we hang our faith there, just rest in the arms of God, and let Him do what He thinks is the best. This is exactly what the Canaanite woman did when the disciples were asking Jesus to dismiss her. She instead decided to Come and remain in the presence of Jesus, instead of leaving.


Hang your faith there, stand firm and persevere in your faith. For whether God’s answer is yes, no, wait, or complete silence, hang your faith. That could be how God wants to answer you. He simply wants to give you inner peace. 


Happy Sunday and Happy Anniversary To Me!!




  1. Ugo says

    May God continue to bless you abundantly Fr. Happy Anniversary 🥳🥳

  2. Ogochukwu Chikani says

    Happy anniversary to you Fada Sanctus Mario. May the Lord continue to bless you. Amen 🙏🙏

  3. Elizabeth Wamwera says

    Happy annivery fr, may u live long to touch lives

  4. Cynthia Douglas says

    Happy Anniversary Father. May God continue to bless you, grant you more wisdom and strengthen you as you keep inspiring us

  5. Mailoushi James says

    Amen! Happy Sunday and Priestly Anniversary, may God continues to fill you with the Holy Spirit to grow from strength to strengths through out the days of your life and shepherd His people to the glory of His name, Amen

  6. Yolanda Malebatsane says


  7. Angeline Ajuzie says

    Amen. Congratulations Padre on your anniversary.

  8. Stephen Uchenna Mabel says

    Happy anniversary Padre. more grace

  9. Chizoba Ekwueme says

    Thank you Fr. I enjoyed every bit of today’s breakfast. So help us God, Amen!

    Happy Anniversary Fr. God bless, uplift and keep you for us, Amen! I wish you many more happy returns in good health and sound mind, Amen!

  10. Beatrice Kelechi says

    Wonderful reflection!
    May Jesus help me to always hang my faith in Him even when the answer to my request seems silent.

    Happy Anniversary Fr.

  11. Ogechi Oscar says

    Amen,Happy anniversary Padre,more grace

  12. Bibiana Uche Unachukwu and family says

    Amen. Happy Sunday. Happy anniversary, priesthood is the pride of Catholic church. Is more joyous when the priest in question is trying his best to be holy,the church is blessed to have them. This joy will not cease in Jesus name Amen. More unction to function. Tomorrow I will send you gift in the group of. Be happy and remain blessed.

  13. Angela Ekere says

    May God bless and continue to enrich you with wisdom, joy ,peace and Grace’s as you labour in His vineyard. Bon anniversarie

  14. Oby Okpalaeke says

    Amen 🙏

  15. Ozoro Christiana says

    AMEN 🙏

  16. Nwatu, Nneka P says

    Yes, Padre happy Sunday and happy anniversary to you

  17. Mbama Christiana says

    Thanks fada so much for this inspiring message. May the Lord bless you immensely and happy priestly anniversary to you. Much love ❤

  18. Nwatu, Nneka P says

    Yes Padre happy Sunday and happy anniversary to you.
    Today own is the best

  19. Goodluckeocha. says

    Amen. Happy anniversary father. More grace, more anointing.

  20. Eze Juliana Nkechi says

    Amen. I wish you the best Fr.

  21. Chinyere Ezemelue says

    Happy 7th priestly anniversary, Fr. Santus Mario.

  22. Amalu Gloria says

    Congratulations fr mario . May almighty God continue to bless you and strength you in his kingdom in Jesus name amen.

  23. Mariajacinta Ivoke says

    Thank you Jesus.
    Happy Sunday and happy anniversary to you padre.

  24. Benedicta Chukwumah says

    Happy priestly anniversary Padre. Seven years like the lamp that burn on God’s altar giving light and is not burnt out for the One Who called supplies the Holy Spirit to bring His salvation to a world starved of God’s word.
    May God receive the glory, power and honor now and forever more🙏.

  25. Okonkwo Victoria says

    Good morning Highly inspired Thank you so so much

  26. Ohachosim Chinyere R. says

    …hang your faith there, He may simply want to give you inner peace…
    God bless you Father.

    May you continue to be a light and shine brightly amidst a dark and gloomy world…amen. Happy Priestly Anniversary dear Padre.

    remain blessed

  27. Chidiebere Asochukwu says

    Happy Anniversary to you Padre. You are such a beautiful soul God bless and enrich you with wisdom to continue this good work of sharing Gods word with us. Life makes more meaning having the likes of you around.

    1. Chisom Egwudike says

      Lord, give us the grace to persevere in you. Amen!

      Happy 7th Priestly anniversary Padre. Chukwu gozie gị rinne. Amen🙏🏻!

  28. Okeke Juliet Nneka says

    Amen 🙏. Thank you Padre. This topic was really for me.
    Congratulations and Happy Anniversary and God grant you many more fruitful years in His vineyard.🙏

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