August 16, 2020. Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time.
IS 56:1, 6-7
Thus says the LORD:
Observe what is right, do what is just;
for my salvation is about to come,
my justice, about to be revealed.
The foreigners who join themselves to the LORD,
ministering to him,
loving the name of the LORD,
and becoming his servants—
all who keep the sabbath free from profanation
and hold to my covenant,
them I will bring to my holy mountain
and make joyful in my house of prayer;
their burnt offerings and sacrifices
will be acceptable on my altar,
for my house shall be called
a house of prayer for all peoples.
PS 67:2-3, 5, 6, 8
R. (4) O God, let all the nations praise you!
ROM 11:13-15, 29-32
Brothers and sisters:
I am speaking to you Gentiles.
Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles,
I glory in my ministry in order to make my race jealous
and thus save some of them.
For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world,
what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?
For the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable.
Just as you once disobeyed God
but have now received mercy because of their disobedience,
so they have now disobeyed in order that,
by virtue of the mercy shown to you,
they too may now receive mercy.
For God delivered all to disobedience,
that he might have mercy upon all.
At that time, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon.
And behold, a Canaanite woman of that district came and called out,
“Have pity on me, Lord, Son of David!
My daughter is tormented by a demon.”
But Jesus did not say a word in answer to her.
Jesus’ disciples came and asked him,
“Send her away, for she keeps calling out after us.”
He said in reply,
“I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
But the woman came and did Jesus homage, saying, “Lord, help me.”
He said in reply,
“It is not right to take the food of the children
and throw it to the dogs.”
She said, “Please, Lord, for even the dogs eat the scraps
that fall from the table of their masters.”
Then Jesus said to her in reply,
“O woman, great is your faith!
Let it be done for you as you wish.”
And the woman’s daughter was healed from that hour.
A Blessed Sunday to all of us! Was Jesus being rude to the Canaanite woman? A custom and tradition is existing and that is they are not allowed to speak with any gentile, and a Canaanite is one of these gentiles – meaning, a non-Jew. Jesus is only obeying the custom of not having to do anything with a Canaanite especially a woman like her. However, in His heart, He already knows the heart of this woman. He already knows the great faith that she has and how good of an example it will be for us. He tested her and prompted her by this series of questions, and the Canaanite woman was proven to be very persistent. Her faith is strong and true despite not being a Jew – one of the “chosen people” or the race of our Lord Jesus Christ. What does this tell us?
St. Paul, in the second reading, also talks about the hardness of the heart of some Israelites. So are we, who belongs to the Church of the Lord – one of His chosen ones. We are in the Church, and yet what kind of faith do we have? If Jesus probed us like this, will we be able to pass like this Canaanite woman did? Perhaps some of us would reply with various stuff such as complains to God, a litany of the good things we have done, or calling God some names which He is not. Due to anger, dismay, disappointment, and impatience, some, if not most of us, have said some things – not so good things to and about God.
Let us now look at the Canaanite woman. She accepted her nothingness in front of the Lord. When Jesus told her of the harsh truth which is the view of all the Israelites at the time concerning gentiles, she accepted it humbly and was willing to lower herself all the more. Even lower than the dogs for the sake of her daughter. How about us? What are we willing to give up for the sake of what we are praying for? Are we willing to lower ourselves to God? Do we accept our nothingness before Him?
Maybe we are forgetting that God does not owe us anything. Instead, we owe Him everything. Remember that we are only dust whom God has given life by His breath. In His pleasure and love, He formed in His image and likeness. God gave us everything, even His son, to save us despite not being worthy when we have sinned. Yet, what do we do? Are we doing what is right? Are we true to our calling? Are we obedient to God and the Church?
Maybe we forget the true meaning of being a Christian and we have become inflated, as if the world revolves around us. As if everyone and everything in the world is here to serve us. Even God Himself is reduced to someone who should always do things for us in our perspective. It is time to examine ourselves. Maybe the true problem is not outside but within us. Maybe the change that we need to see is not really or only on the outside but on the inside. May we learn to see our true selves and humble ourselves before the Lord that He may exalt us in due time. May we cast all our worries on Him because He cares for us (1 Peter 5:6-7). Amen. +
God bless you!
Reflections by Frances Mary Margarette DJ
Readings Source: USCCB
Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.