Gospel Reflection for the 20th Sunday Ordinary Time Year A – August 17th 2014
Full scripture for this Sunday is available on our parish website. Daily Scripture is also available. Our parish Prayers of the Faithful for this Sunday are made available on the Dublin Diocesan website.
Jesus left Genenesaret and withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. Then out came a Canaanite woman from that district and started shouting, ‘Sir, Son of David, take pity on me. My daughter is tormented by a devil.’ But he answered her not a word. And his disciples went and pleaded with him. ‘Give her what she wants,’ they said ‘because she is shouting after us.’ He said in reply, ‘I was sent only to the lost sheep of the House of Israel’. But the woman had come up and was kneeling at his feet. ‘Lord,’ she said ‘help me.’ He replied, ‘It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the house-dogs’. She retorted, ‘Ah yes, sir; but even house-dogs can eat the scraps that fall from their master’s table’. Then Jesus answered her, ‘Woman, you have great faith. Let your wish be granted.’ And from that moment her daughter was well again.
She was a lady like many – the woman of the gospel today. She would fight for her child. So she took on Jesus, the best known religious figure around. Like someone taking on the Taoiseach over a medical card for a chronically ill child, and not letting him off the hook.
Faith of a Mother
Jesus was testing her. He saw faith, but he wanted everyone else to see it. So he told her she didn’t fit into the local religious sphere because she was foreigner, an asylum seeker or a refugee. Or a lone mother who had a bad name. She knew she fitted into the heart of Jesus simply because she was the mother of a sick child.
Even if he would cure everyone, maybe he would come back to her at the end. Even a discretionary cure, like a medical card!
Jesus went further – he cured her child and praised her faith.
She is another of the unnamed ones of the gospel. Like the woman of Samaria, the rich young man, the thief on Calvary – she is herself, and she is all of us. She is everyone, man and woman, of faith.
Faith in a surprising God who in Jesus his Son, never says no to goodness. Faith that keeps us energetic and alive, not tired, in soul as well as body.
Lord, I believe, strengthen my faith.
Donal Neary SJ