From the Pastor’s Desk
The Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Aug 20, 2023
“Have pity on me, Lord, Son of David!”
Brothers and Sisters,
The power of persistence is emphasized frequently in the Bible; even a judge who “fears not God or cares for people” caved to a persistent widow simply because he wanted her pestering to stop (cf. Luke 18). Today’s Gospel encourages similar diligence, even when dealing with the Lord. Desperate to help her tormented daughter, the Canaanite woman, despite not being in her home country and hearing Jesus say he is here to help the people of Israel, this mom will not take no for an answer. As the woman continues, surprisingly, our Lord doubles down at what could be confused as obstinance, saying, “It is not right to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.” Still, she persists. Why? Because this woman knows that even Jesus’ “scraps” will heal her daughter. She has complete faith. And for this, Jesus accedes to her plea — saving her child. We understand the encouragement of persistence, but did Jesus need to make these derogatory comments to get his point across? Many lines in Scripture are difficult to explain. First, remember that Jesus never name-calls, and second, our Lord always knows what he’s doing. He allows the Caninite woman to reveal her deep faith before others.
This interaction is also an excellent reminder to be extravagant when dispensing the riches entrusted to us by the Church. As Pope Francis has encouraged us to become, we need to be a listening Church that demonstrates in our actions that we have been actively listening — to the disenfranchised, the underserved, and the misunderstood. We have to be attentive to the needs of our neighbors and let them know that in Christ, they will find a lasting reward. Sometimes, this spiritual message, though, has to be authenticated by our willingness to be generous with the treasurers entrusted to us.
Thank you for the many ways that you continue to support our parish’s corporal and spiritual works of mercy. Your contributions to the poor box, no matter how small, in addition to the efforts of our SALT and St. Vincent outreach ministries, make a big difference!
And finally, as we enter an academic year with the busy schedules that come with it, please be mindful of setting aside time for prayer, alone and with others. Remembering, when we are persistent with our Lord, letting him know about our needs and those we have taken the time to listen to and understand better, Jesus will not disappoint. Moreover, consider becoming the answer to someone else’s prayer through the gift of your time, expertise, and elbow grease. I assure you, you will grow in your faith and love of God in the process!