Table Scraps

“…even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.”  Matthew 15:27

We used to have two cats around the house. They were engaging critters and always interesting. I think that what I liked best is how they took care of themselves. This is one reason why we don’t presently have a dog. Given my lifestyle, we found it difficult to properly take care of a dog. They’re just too…needy!

We use to have dogs as pets. We owned a wonderful dog. He was a Sheltie, Caleb by name, and I can tell you that he was one of the smartest animals I’ve ever had the chance to hang around.. It was always fun at dinnertime. Being a house dog,  he was always around for a handout from the table. It was always fun to watch him move around under the table, in and out, first to me, then to Matushka, and then back to me again. I really think that sometimes he wondered why he didn’t sit at the table with the rest of the family. When he died, my wife and I were very upset.

Certainly its better to sit at the table than to be under it. As tasty as scraps may be, they can’t compare with what’s on the table. Also, to sit at the table means that you are a part of the family, even if you are an invited guest. I do imagine, however, that any dog is happy to catch whatever falls from the table.

 If you know anything about  Old Testament history and genealogy, you would understand the reason why the Jews despised the Canaanites. The woman who came to Jesus seeking healing for her daughter was a Canaanite. Jesus didn’t despise her, but he told her that he had come for the lost sheep of the house of Israel. To do what she asked would be like giving food meant for the children to the dogs. She was not offended at his words and in fact said that he spoke the truth. Undaunted, she replied that even the dogs sit under the table for the scraps. Jesus marveled at her faith. He always seem to marvel at faith. So he told her that what she wanted had been granted. 

So, call me Fido (the faithful one), but I am a very stupid dog. 

Why am I stupid? There is so much food on the table. I am an invited guest and not a pet. Yet I choose to sit under the table satisfying myself with little scraps and crumbs. There is so much spiritual food to eat. The Bible is a feast for the soul, yet I nibble a few crumbs each day. The writings of the Holy Fathers are a banquet for the mind, but I can’t remember the last time I consumed a scrap from them. Prayer is the richest of spiritual food, yet I seem content with a few moments of quickly read prayers. Liturgy is the feast of feasts and the food on the table is the Bread of Heaven itself. Yet week after week, I stand like a dog under the table and satisfy myself with a piece of antidoron.

Sure, antidoron is tasty, but why don’t I sit at  the table? There is a place set for me. The Master of the banquet considers me to be a member of his family. He wants me to eat until I am satisfied. But if I insist on sitting under the table, the Master in his love for me will let the scraps fall. I wonder if I amuse him the way Caleb amused us, running back and forth, happy with any crumb that would fall to the floor; or perhaps he is amazed that I can be so content with so little, especially when so much is offered to me. 

Well, at least I am a faithful dog and according to the Lord, faith will save me. So, like I said, just  call me Fido. 


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