Scripture Reflection - August 16, 2020


Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Isaiah 56: 1, 6-7; Paul 11: 13-15; Matthew 15:21-28

“Jesus proclaimed the Gospel of the Kingdom and cured every disease among the people.”

Now that hurricane season is upon us and we tune into the news to be updated as to the path of the storm and possible impending dangers, we become more aware of the effects of the power of nature. Wind, rain, flooding, toppled trees, power outages and other events influence our decisions to travel, shelter in place, or take other precautions.

And at this time when we are dealing with Covid-19 spreading and re-surfacing in our country and around the world, we are also tuning in to the latest news and updates on the dangers of ignoring precautions to be taken or protocols to be followed.

As we tune in to the readings of this Sunday, Isaiah speaks of the spread of God’s Salvation to all peoples – “for my salvation is about to come, my justice about to be revealed.”

How are we preparing for the coming of God’s Salvation and the revelation of God’s Justice promised to all who believe regardless of origin or social standing?

Paul reminds us in the second reading that God’s Mercy extends to all – believers and unbelievers alike. “Oh the depths of the riches and knowledge of God. How incomprehensible are his judgments and how unsearchable his ways.” (Paul 11:33)

How do we witness to the Mercy of God, in acknowledging our own sinfulness and reaching out to and welcoming those who are on the margins or who have turned away from the path of salvation?

The Canaanite woman in Matthew’s Gospel did not recoil from Jesus, even after his rebuke that he was sent to the lost sheep of Israel not to foreigners. She continued to call out and was rewarded for her faith –“O Woman, great is thy faith.” And her daughter was healed!

The readings remind us that in God’s Plan of Salvation for all, we are being called to humbly approach our God, asking for His Mercy, and continuing to plead for the healing of our own brokenness, and that of our world. God ignores no plea for help and does not abandon anyone in pain. Let us go and do likewise.

And so, during these trying times of natural disasters, pandemic and political unrest, when so many are suffering from fear, anxiety, sickness, abandonment, loss of a loved one, let us come before our God of Infinite Mercy and plead for the grace to be Healers of those who are in need, wherever we may encounter them.

Let our faith be as strong as that of the Canaanite woman – persistent and with confidence in the all-embracing Mercy of our Loving and Compassionate God.

Sr. Mary Doris, OP

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