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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Sunday 20th (A) in Ordinary Time

1st Reading (Isa 56:1.6-7): Thus says the Lord: Observe what is right, do what is just; for my salvation is about to come, my justice, about to be revealed. The foreigners who join themselves to the Lord, ministering to him, loving the name of the Lord, and becoming his servants, all who keep the sabbath free from profanation and hold to my covenant, them I will bring to my holy mountain and make joyful in my house of prayer; their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be acceptable on my altar, for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.
Responsorial Psalm: 66
R/. O God, let all the nations praise you!
May God have pity on us and bless us; may he let his face shine upon us. So may your way be known upon earth; among all nations, your salvation.

May the nations be glad and exult because you rule the peoples in equity; the nations on the earth you guide.

May the peoples praise you, o God; may all the peoples praise you! May God bless us, and may all the ends of the earth fear him!
2nd Reading (Rom 11:13-15.29-32): Brothers and sisters: I am speaking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I glory in my ministry in order to make my race jealous and thus save some of them. For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?

For the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable. Just as you once disobeyed God but have now received mercy because of their disobedience, so they have now disobeyed in order that, by virtue of the mercy shown to you, they too may now receive mercy. For God delivered all to disobedience, that he might have mercy upon all.
Versicle before the Gospel (Mt 4:23): Alleluia. Jesus proclaimed the Gospel of the kingdom and cured every disease among the people. Alleluia.
Gospel text (Mt 15,21-28): At that time, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. Now a Canaanite woman came from those borders and began to cry out, «Lord, Son of David, have pity on me! My daughter is tormented by a demon». But Jesus did not answer her, not even a word. So his disciples approached him and said, «Send her away: see how she is shouting after us». Then Jesus said to her, «I was sent only to the lost sheep of the nation of Israel». But the woman was already kneeling before Jesus and said, «Sir, help me!». Jesus answered, «It is not right to take the bread from the children and throw it to the little dogs». The woman replied, «It is true, Sir, but even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their master's table». Then Jesus said, «Woman, how great is your faith! Let it be as you wish». And her daughter was healed at that moment.

«Sir, even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their master's table»

Fr. Joan SERRA i Fontanet (Barcelona, Spain)

Today, we are given to contemplate the scene of the Canaanite woman: a pagan woman —not an Israeli one— whose daughter was very sick, possessed by the demon, and who had heard of Jesus. She comes to meet him and starts crying out: «Lord, Son of David, have pity on me! My daughter is tormented by a demon» (Mt 15:22). She is not asking for anything, she is only telling him of her daughter's sickness hoping Jesus will decide what to do.

But Jesus does not answer her. Why? Perhaps He had already realized the faith of that woman and wanted it to grow still further. And she keeps on begging, so that the disciples ask Jesus to send her away. This woman's faith is evidenced, above all, through her humble insistence, emphasized by his disciples’ words: «Send her away: see how she is shouting after us» (Mt 15:23).

The woman keeps on insisting; she does not get tired. Jesus' silence is explained by the fact He has only been sent to look after the lost sheep of the nation of Israel. Yet, after his resurrection, He will tell his disciples: «Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature» (Mk 16:15).

At times, God's silence torments us. We have often complained of such silence, haven't we? But the Canaanite woman kneels before Jesus. It is the worshipping position. He replies that it is not right to take the bread from the children to throw it to the dogs. And she answers: «It is true, Sir, but even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their master's table» (Mt 15:26-27).

This woman is very shrewd. She does not get angry, nor she loses her temper, but she actually admits that He is right. «It is true, Sir». And she places Him by her side. It looks like if she would be telling Him: —I am a dog, but the dog is under its master’s protection.

The Canaanite woman offers us a great lesson: she acknowledges the Lord is right, He who is always right. —Do not pretend to be right when you appear before the Lord. Do not ever complaint but, if you do, end up your prayer by saying: «O Lord, let your will be done».