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Gospel Reflection for 20th Sunday Ordinary Time Year A – August 20th 2017
There are many aspects to this story – the compassion of Jesus eventually for the mother pleading for the cure of her child; the response of Jesus for the first time to a non-Jewish person; the humour of the woman about scraps from a rich table; and Jesus’ praise of her faith.
She was an honest woman, probably meticulous in her care for her daughter, as she was annoyed by the wastage of food. She had no difficulty being honest with Jesus, letting him know with shouts what she wanted. This plea seems to come from faith: somehow she had heard that this man was reliable and loved the sick.
Jesus played along a bit – he tested her faith, almost dismissing her because she was a Gentile. She kept at him. Prayer has a lot of ‘keeping at it’; either asking continuously with faith, or just being in the presence of God in different ways.
Prayer is always receiving scraps from God – scraps of consolation, of joy and of love that keep us going. But the scraps are transformed so that everything in our lives can be shining with the light of God. The woman’s name is not recorded; but she is remembered as an example who used very bit of living energy in her life and prayer for her daughter. A true mother!
Mary, mother of God, pray for us, help us always, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
Fr Donal Neary SJ is editor of the Sacred Heart Messenger