Every day, we need to go to our quiet place...

Today's Scriptural Meditation Readings:

August 17, A.D. 2008

Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:

Isaiah 56:1, 6-7
Psalm 67:2-3, 5, 6, 8
Romans 11:13-15, 29-32
Matthew 15:21-28

A reflection on today's Scripture:

Our first reading today prophesies an "opening up" of Jewish worship to foreigners.

Their sacrifices will be accepted by the Lord as well as those of the Israelites themselves! "My house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples!" We are so accustomed to this idea that we may fail to realize how shocking it must have been to Isaiah's listeners.

In the second reading, Paul deals with this very question—how will his former colleagues accept his preaching the good news of Jesus to the Gentiles? He finally decides that it may be a good thing for them to be jealous enough of the Gentiles to want themselves to become Christian! This is Paul's fervent wish. In other words, he desires not only the conversion of the Gentiles, but just as much, he wishes the conversion of all people, including the Jewish community.

After hearing Paul's struggle with Israelites vs. Gentiles, we are somewhat shocked to hear Jesus reject the request of the Canaanite woman to heal her daughter. His reply to her seems harsh to our ears, since He tells her and the apostles (who beg Jesus to give in to her request, just to get rid of her whining!) that He was sent only to the lost children of Israel. Then turning to the woman, He quotes a familiar proverb that forbids "dogs" to be fed from the table by their masters. (What! Is this our gentle Jesus speaking?) But then, Jesus is so impressed with her faith and humility and her sense of humor when she persists in her appeal, that He heals her daughter. Within fifty years of the Resurrection, the Church was called "Catholic." As James Joyce once said of the Catholic Church, "Here comes everyone!"

What a challenge to us Catholics today who are sometimes too smug or self-righteous to share our faith with other Christians and those of other religions! To drag our feet is to risk going against Jesus' own prayer before He died on the Cross: "that they all may be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that the world may believe that you sent me" (John 18:21).

Let's open our arms wider!

- Msgr. Paul Whitmore |
email: pwhitmore29 (at) yahoo (dot) com

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Lives of the saints:

Full Scripture text from today's Liturgy of the Word:


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