Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time - August 17, 2014
For my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples. (Isaiah 56:7)
- Isaiah 56:1, 6-7
- Psalm 67
- Romans 11:13-15, 29-32
It seems that Jesus has a change of heart in his encounter with the Canaanite woman. At first he ignores her. Then he proclaims that he was sent only to serve the people of Israel. Then he insults her and tells her that food should be given to the children and not thrown to the dogs. He compares her and her daughter to dogs. She responds to his insult with courage and faith, telling him that even the dogs feed on the scraps left behind by the people. He recognizes her faith and grants her request for her daughter to be healed.
As a Jew, Jesus understood that the people of Israel were the chosen people of God. Through the calling of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, God chose their descendants to be God’s people. Some Jews hardened their hearts against God, however, while some Gentiles were open to the Good News that Jesus proclaimed. Saint Paul reflects this change of perspective in his letter to the Romans. He writes that God initially chose the Israelites, but they rejected God. Because of their rejection, God extends his invitation to the Gentiles to be his people. God now shares the grace of faith with the Gentiles.
Our Church teaches that Jesus died for ALL people. “By his word, through signs that manifest the reign of God, and by sending out his disciples, Jesus calls all people to come together around him.” (CCC 542) We are called to welcome others and to proclaim to them the Good News of Christ Jesus through our joyful living as disciples of Christ Jesus. Rather than judging those who are different from us and insisting that they become like us, we must simply reflect Christ’s love for all peoples through our words and our actions.
In our Domestic Churches, it is very important that we instill in our family members that we need to be welcoming of all people, no matter what they look like, how they might act, how smart or not they are, what dis/abilities they might have, or what church they might attend. Do we recognize the dignity of every person we meet? We might say that we know each human person has inherent dignity, but do we really act accordingly? Do we welcome all those we meet with a smile and joy-filled words? Our children will respond to others as we respond to them. This means that we parents and grandparents must make an assessment about how we respond to other people we encounter.
Question for Reflection/Discussion: The woman was persistent in prayer. How do you pray persistently? For what do you ask God to give you most often?