Twentieth Sunday Ordinary Time 2017
At first glance, it seems like Jesus is assuming an attitude of arrogance and rejection with the poor Canaanite woman, or maybe he is just goading on his apostles to make them see their mistaken prejudices. How many times have we assumed an arrogant position before someone who is not of our faith? Jesus shames the attitudes of his apostles towards the non-Jewish woman, while showing great esteem for the woman’s faith and granting her what she had requested.
Today’s readings teach us that God loves all of humanity and that God invites us to break down the barriers that separate us. Throughout history we have wrongly focused on our political, social and national differences but most especially on religious differences and entered conflicts. Isaiah, Paul and Matthew agree together that this is not the plan of God. Too many times our negative experiences in life and our disillusionment with ourselves, others and God have filled us with bitterness and so we angrily attack those who are different, outside our group, instead of facing the wounds we carry inside of us.
The number of those who believe in Christ grows when we live the Gospel, when instead of judging, we forgive, as we have been forgiven. We are called to listen to the suffering of others with compassion and respond with a generous heart. Those who do not believe in the Lord will not be convinced by our arguments or by feeling forced, but rather by our sincere love. Today’s readings invite us to heal our own hearts so to be able to listen and respond to the suffering heart of humanity today.
Fr. Joseph Jablonski, MSC
Painting: Le Christ et la Cananéenne by Jean Germain Drouais (1784)