August 17, 2014

20th Sun. of Ordinary Time

August 17, 2014:  20th Sunday in Ordinary Time

  • Is 56:1, 6-7  Do what is just; my salvation and justice are coming.  I'll make foreigners who minister to and love the Lord and hold to my covenant joyful in my house of prayer; their offerings and sacrifices will be acceptable, for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.
  • Ps 67:2-3, 5-6, 8  "O God, let all the nations praise you!"  May God have pity on us, bless us, and shine on us, so all may know his salvation.  May God bless us, and may all revere him!
  • Mt 15:21-28  Canaanite woman:  “Have pity on me, Lord!  My daughter is tormented by a demon.”  Jesus didn't answer her.  Disciples / Jesus:  “Send her away; she keeps calling us.” / “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”  Woman / Jesus:  “Lord, help me.” / “It's not right to throw children's food to the dogs.” / “Even the dogs eat scraps from their masters' table.” / “O woman of great faith, let it be done as you wish!”  Her daughter was then healed.
Pope Francis
  • To Asian Church:  The Church must be creative in her witness through dialogue and openness, starting from our identity as Christians and opening our minds and hearts.  When trying to express our identity, we can be tempted:
    • Relativism obscures truth and pulls us toward confusion and despair.  It causes people to forget that amidst disorienting change, “much is unchanging, having its foundation in Christ, who is the same yesterday, and today, and forever” (Gaudium et Spes 10).  Practical relativism almost imperceptibly saps our sense of identity.
    • Superficiality diverts us from things that matter to fads and gadgets; culture glorifies the ephemeral and offers avoidance and escape routes.  Pastoral programs can replace direct, fruitful encounter with our faithful.  Truths recede, practice of virtue becomes formalistic, and dialogue becomes negotiation or agreement to disagree.
    • False security of easy answers and rules:  Faith seeks understanding, gives rise to testimony, generates mission, and enables us to be fearless and unassuming witnesses, ready to tell the reason for our hope (1 Pet 3:15).  Our identity is seen in our quiet worship, love, service, and example (2 Tim 1:12).
Dialogue includes daily life and charity as well as formal opportunities; speak from and of Christ in simple living, communication, works, and loving service.  Christian identity is fruitful, bearing justice, goodness, and peace.  How does your identity shine in your catechesis, youth ministry, service to the poor, and nourishment of vocations?
Dialogue demands empathy and contemplative receptivity, listening beyond the spoken word to experiences, hopes, struggles, and concerns.  See people as our brothers and sisters and “hear” their hearts.  Empathy enables shared wisdom and pursuit of understanding, friendship, and solidarity.  Dialogue is grounded in the Incarnation where Jesus shared in our life and spoke our language.
  • Homily to Asian youth:  "The martyrs' glory shines on you!  Asian youth, wake up!" Christ is the light of our lives, dispelling darkness and overcoming evil.  We participate in his victory and so can face the challenge of discipleship.  Bring faith to every aspect of life!  Let him turn your optimism into hope, your energy into virtue, your good will into self-sacrificing love!  Overcome all that threatens hope, virtue, and love in your lives and culture. 
Wordle: Readings 8-17-14
Words of today's readings
You're a necessary and loved part of the Church’s present!  Keep close to each other and God, and build a holier, more missionary and humble Church that loves and worships God by serving the poor, lonely, infirm, and marginalized.  You'll be tempted to push away the stranger, the needy, the poor, and the brokenhearted, but they cry as we, the Canaanite woman, and all who search for love, acceptance, and friendship with Christ, “Lord, help me!”  Respond like Christ with love and compassion.  Don't allow pressures, temptations, or sins to dull you to the beauty of holiness and joy of the Gospel.  Go out so everyone may receive God's saving mercy.  This path will bring you joy.  Mary, help us honor and serve Jesus and bring him to others.
    • Creighton:  Why did Matthew include the Jesus/Canaanite woman story that seems to present Jesus so harshly?  To show Jesus gets tired and impatient like we do?  To encourage us to be persistent like her?  What have we stopped speaking to God/praying about, and what happens when we stop?  Isaiah:  God longs to be in relationship with all people.  Paul:  God’s mercy is for all, Jewish or not.  Let's boldly believe in and seek God's mercy, love, and healing, as the woman did.
    • One Bread One Body:  Jesus ignores the Gentile woman, showing the disciples what their lifelong behavior looks like.  He doesn't send her away as they ask; he shows they should bring people to him, not send them away.  Jesus refers to Gentiles as dogs, as the disciples treated them.  Jesus healed the daughter, teaching that Gentiles also hunger for God.  Are we bringing people to Jesus or sending them away?
    • Passionist:  As the Good News is for anyone, so too life's necessities.  Working for justice helps everyone have those necessities and be the fullest expression of who God made them to be.  Hope for a just and peace-full world in which all can live their potential.  The Canaanite woman dared to hope!
    •  Today's is the only gospel telling of Jesus' ministry outside Jewish territory.  Was Jesus smiling when he talked about not throwing bread to dogs?  The woman was willing to be rebuffed for her daughter's sake.  Do I seek God with faith?
    • 'Praying person' tie bar:  "My house shall be called a house of prayer for all" (1st reading)
    • 'Olympics' tie pin:  "May all the ends of the earth fear him!" (psalm)
    • 'Sheep' tie bar:  "I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel" (gospel)
    • 'Dogs' tie:  "Even the dogs eat the scraps that fall from their masters' table.” (gospel)
    • Green T-shirt (not visible):  Ordinary Time season

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