We tend to paint the heroes of the past with a golden hue: George Washington, Father of the Country, Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence, James Madison, Father of the Constitution. The fact that these men could champion that “all men are created equal” and “liberty and justice for all” while still owning slaves causes cognitive dissonance. It is fascinating, therefore, that the gospel writers tell the story of the encounter of Jesus with a Greek, Syrophoenician, pagan woman even though it does not paint him in his best light. He does not come off as the compassionate figure we had come to expect. This demonstrates a gospel truth — that Jesus was “like us in all things but sin.” In particular, Jesus was like us in needing to learn and grow. He had imagined this his mission was limited to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. When the woman calls him “Lord,” he must have realized that she too — and hence others — deserved his care as well. He learned his mission included a much wider circle than he had imagined. We must learn that as well — to be on the alert to expand our circle of care.