Reflection for 20th Sunday of Ordinary Time
First Reading: Isaiah 56:1, 6-7
Second Reading: Romans 11:13-15, 29-32
Gospel: Matthew 15:21-28
Perhaps you have heard the saying that the words we speak are a reflection of what’s in our hearts. First, let’s look at the Canaanite woman, a pagan who kept calling out to Jesus. Have pity on me, Lord, Son of David! We see that not only does she recognize Jesus as Lord, but also expresses a deep faith. She is persistent and has confidence that Jesus will cure her daughter. Lord, help me. Her words reflect what’s in her heart. She knows Jesus will be merciful and grant her request. In humility, she seeks Jesus in His mercy.
Perhaps we too experience silence in response to our prayers, like the Canaanite woman. How do we react? Do we stop praying and walk away disappointed?” Or do we persevere, in trust and confidence, knowing that God is always working for our good.
Jesus’s disciples judged the Canaanite woman. Canaanites were everything contrary to the Jewish religion. The disciples judged her as not possibly being a believer. Send her away, she keeps calling out after us. Jesus teaches both the disciples and us a lesson. We are not to characterize or judge by external appearances. Every person is created in the image and likeness of God. Jesus wants us to look for the good in every person.
Today’s second reading from the Letter of St. Paul to the Romans is written to Gentiles – non Jewish people and originally pagan, who converted and now are Christian. Our God is God of all peoples. His mercy is always at work. Just like the Canaanite woman, we seek the mercy of Jesus Christ, especially in the Sacrament of Reconciliation! We experience the mercy of Jesus, so we too can be agents of His mercy to others.
May God bless us all always!