20th Sunday in Ordinary Time
20 August 2017++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Gospel: Matthew 15:21-28~ At that time, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. And behold, A Canaanite woman of that district came and called out, “Have pity on me, Lord, Son of David! My daughter is tormented by a demon.” But Jesus did not say a word in answer to her. Jesus’ disciples came and asked him, “Send her away, for she keeps calling out after us.” He said in reply, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” But the woman came and did Jesus homage, saying, “Lord, help me.” HE said in reply, “It is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs.” She said, “Please, Lord, for even the dogs eat the scraps that fall from the table of their masters.” Then Jesus said to her in reply, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.” And the woman’s daughter was healed from that hour.
How many of us have ever had the need to cry out to Jesus, “Have pity on me, Lord, Son of David! My son, my daughter, my relative, my friend is tormented by a demon.”?
What is a demon? Demons come in all shapes and sizes. A demon is what hijacks our ability to think clearly. With the recent epidemic of opiate use, I believe many are possessed by a demon that clouds their ability to see who they are, the sons and daughters of God. There are demons of lust, demons of power, demons of oppression, demons of fear, demons of boredom, demons of mental illness, demons of habit, demons of complaining, and demons profiting from wars and gun sales.
Just like Jesus’ disciples, we ask Jesus to send them away rather than see them with compassion and not judgment. We fail to recognize the Body and Blood of Christ within each of us that can cure them. Some of us believe that sending away (deporting) foreigners; immigrants or refugees will solve our problems. The problem is that we look at them as dogs. Actually we look at them as lower than dogs.
Dogs are actually cared for better in this country than many of the people escaping wars, famine or gang warfare. More than half of the people in this weary world would gladly change places with our pet dogs. Jesus is asking us to see this woman. Jesus has invited us to see many women who have much stronger faith than we ever will. This woman knew who Jesus was. She knew that just a scrap from his table would heal her daughter possessed by a demon. This woman would gladly be called a dog if she knew her daughter would be healed.
If we had faith the size of a mustard seed, we could move mountains.
Jesus still sends us disciples out in twos. He directs us to cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, and drive out demons. What prevents us from doing this?
I believe the place to start is to welcome those who are hurting like this woman. Share her pain. Be moved with compassion. See her desperation. Walk with her.
Jesus asks tells us that if two of us come together and ask, it will be granted. The key to my power when I was in the Battle for Fallujah was falling in love with the Marines and soldiers as they were, not how I believed they should be. I simply loved them as if they were my own sons and daughters. Then my prayer became desperate when my child was wounded or bludgeoned in body or soul.
“Lord, help me.”
Do you believe that just a scrap of Jesus could heal you whom I love?
Let us ask and believe it will be granted.
Someone here today is being healed this very hour.
Is it you? Is it your daughter or son?
Who has the faith of Good News?
Isaiah 56:1, 6-7 ~ For my house will be called a house of prayer for all peoples.
Psalm 67 ~ O God, let all the nations praise you!.
Paul’s letter to the Romans 11:13-32 ~ For the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable.