August 20, 2017

20th Sun., Ordinary Time

August 20, 2017:  Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

See about a dozen connections with today?
Legend below
Proudly showing Mom (102)
as today's guest dresser;
note dog motif for gospel!
From Ed Bolduc's blog
For future Sundays
  • Is 56:1, 6-7  Do what's 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, bless, and shine on us, so all may know his salvation.
    Wordle: Readings 8-17-14
  • Rom 11:13-15, 29-32  God's gifts and call are irrevocable.  As you once disobeyed God but now have received mercy, so have they disobeyed in order that they too may receive mercy.
  • Mt 15:21-28  Canaanite woman:  “Have pity on me, Lord!  My daughter is tormented by a demon.”  Jesus didn't answer her.  Disciples:  “Send her away; she keeps calling us.” / “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”  Woman:  “Lord, help me.” / “It's not right to throw children's food to the dogs.” / “Even the dogs eat scraps from their masters' table.” / “Woman of great faith, let it be done as you wish!”  Her daughter was then healed.
Pope Francis to Rimini friendship meeting
Don't be taken aback by difficulties and suffering.  Only by earning the truth, beauty, and goodness given us by our parents can we live the changes we're immersed in as an opportunity and an occasion to convince others of the joy of the Gospel.  Open your eyes to be aware of all the signs of the need for God so you can offer others a living response to the great questions of the heart.  You're reliable witnesses of hope that doesn't disappoint.
  • Fr. Anthony Kadavil:  A young man with six months' schooling ran for office and lost.  Next, he failed in business and spent years paying his partner's debts.  He became engaged, his fiance√© died, he had a nervous breakdown, lost another election, then couldn't obtain another federal appointment.  He was voted down as nominee for Vice President, lost a Senate race, then was elected President.  The man was Lincoln.  Today’s Gospel also says, "Never give up."
Today's readings speak of the Kingdom's universal nature.  God chose the Hebrews but included all nations in his saving plan.  In the 1st reading God reveals he makes no distinctions.  The psalm rejects religious exclusivity.  Paul explains that God showed mercy to the Jews and Gentiles.  Jesus' healing of a Gentile woman's daughter show God's love is available to all who call to him.
"3rd Isaiah" was written mainly for the Jews returning from exile to join their relatives left behind, but today’s reading is primarily addressed to Jews who chose to remain in Babylon among the Gentiles.  God pleaded with those who preferred exile to rebuilding Jerusalem and tried to make them understand the Gentiles' role in the restored kingdom.  “My house shall be... for all peoples.”  Everyone has a part to play in God's plan.  The Psalmist calls on all peoples to praise God. 
2nd reading:  Paul was convinced Jews and Gentiles were called to salvation.  His failure to convert the Jews reminds us we must accept failure....
The Gospels recount only two healings Jesus performed for Gentiles:  of the centurion’s servant, and for the Canaanite woman (also in Mk); both foreshadow the extension to all of the Good News.  Canaanites were regarded as pagans and so ritually unclean, but this woman showed growing love, persistence, hope, and cheerfulness.  By granting her request, Jesus demonstrates his mission to break down Jew-Gentile divisions.  God welcomes all who seek his mercy and who try to do his will.
Jesus and the Canaanite woman
Jesus tries to awaken faith in her by his indirect refusal.  She begs, and he makes a seemingly harsh statement ('dogs' was a pejorative word for Gentiles).  She noticed he used the word kunariois (pet), not kuon (dog), and jokingly, so she matched wits:  pets are insiders, part of the family, so she trusts Jesus would heal her daughter.  Won over, Jesus responded exuberantly.  He'd refused her three times but finally granted her request.  She got more than she hoped for:  her daughter's healing, and her own new life in Christ.  She crossed the barrier of racism, refused to be put off because of her position, and admitted she didn't deserve Jesus' attention.
We must persist in prayer with confidence; it proves we have faith to receive what Christ wants to give us.  God who wants what's best for us gives us what we need, better than what we ask for.  We need the peace and security of being in line with God's will for us.  Trust that when you pray for something, the answer is already on its way.
God loves all who call on him.  Share his universal love.  Pray that the walls our pride, intolerance, and prejudice have raised may crumble.  With humility and compassion tell others they're God's children and his love, mercy, and healing are for them too.
    • One Bread, One Body:  "How much do I want great faith?"  The grace of faith has been accepted many ways, especially through testing; testing can make faith genuine and great.  Jesus may have been testing the Canaanite woman's faith by his refusals.  Be grateful he tests us like he did our forefathers.  Accept the grace of faith even if it involves suffering.   Testing "makes for endurance.  Let endurance come to perfection so you may be mature, lacking in nothing...."
    • Passionist:  Openness to all peoples was Isaiah’s vision but wasn't common understanding among Israel; many still wrestle with it.  One of Paul's deepest sorrows was that most of his fellow Jews never realized who Jesus was.  Whom do we exclude from God’s love and mercy?  May the Spirit help us recognize God’s life in all peoples and take down any barriers we've put up.
    •  "Great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire":  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?
    Dress legend
    • 'Alps' tie pin:  "All who keep the sabbath and hold to my covenant I'll bring to my holy mountain;..." (1st reading)
    • 'Fire' pin:  "...their burnt offerings will be acceptable on my altar" (1st reading)
    • 'Olympics' tie pin:  "O God, let all the nations praise you!" (psalm)
    • 'Street light' tie bar:  May God let his face shine upon us (psalm)
    • 'Ruler' tie bar:  You 'rule' the peoples in equity (psalm)
    • 'Phone' tie bar:  God's gifts and 'call' are irrevocable (2nd reading); "she keeps 'calling' out after us" (gospel)
    • 'Boundless mercy' pin:  Just as you disobeyed and received mercy, so too the Jews (2nd reading)
    • '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 shirt:  Ordinary Time season

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