Monday, August 18, 2008

Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

It's a day late but...
Is 56:1, 6-7
Rom 11:13-15, 29-32
Mt 15:21-28

In an episode of the old television series M*A*S*H, Hawkeye pierce and his cronies are involved in a marathon poker game. The ever-present and ever-hungry Radar comes in to deliver a message and sees a tray of sandwiches on a table in the tent. “Are these sandwiches for anybody,” he asks. The weary poker players tell him to take all he wants, so he does. The readings today brought this scene to mind. In the Gospel Jesus and his disciples are followed by a Canaanite woman begging Jesus to drive a demon out of her daughter. Jesus, in a seemingly uncharacteristic manner, sharply rebukes her, much to the delight of his followers. They would just as soon this Gentile woman go away and stop bothering them and the Master. Doesn’t she realize that salvation belongs to the Chosen People alone? Jesus seems to agree with his followers when he says, “It is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs.” Jesus is however, making a point to his followers. The woman replies, “Please, Lord, for even the dogs eat the scraps that fall from the table of their masters.” Jesus then praises her faith and grants her request. Faith has saved her daughter and her as well. Jesus showed his followers that who you are is not what will bring you to God. Believing, having faith that is what one must have. We too often fall into that same trap, the belief that salvation belongs to us, not to anyone else. It is ours because of who we are. It is not possible for us to be any more wrong. We do not have favor with God simply by virtue of ethnicity, social status, denomination, or anything else. Faith is what we need. That faith, which is God’s gift to all of us, is what brings us into the reign of God. We must accept that gift, live it and believe it. We must also rejoice in the fact that that gift of faith is for all people. All people, all people, are the children of God. God excludes no one, how can we? Do we know better than God? No, of course we do not, we cannot. We must simply accept the gift given to us and understand that the sandwiches are indeed for anybody.
Deacon John
Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Aug. 17, 2008

This may be my last post for a few weeks. I will enter the hospital on Friday August 22 to begin a new phase in the treatment of my cancer, Multiple Myeloma. I will not be able to post, because I won't have access to a computer and I may simply be too sick. I am confident that this treatment will work, and ask that you peay for me as I pray for you.
St. Peregrine, Pray for us
Deacon John
Aug. 18, 2008