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Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

August 17, 2014

 

READINGS

First Reading: IS 56:1, 6-7

Responsorial Psalm:  PS 67:2-3, 5, 6, 8

Second Reading: ROM 11:13-15, 29-32

Gospel:  MT 15:21-28

 

Homily:

In today’s Gospel, Jesus told a Canaanite woman “Great is your faith” She is one of the few that Jesus told as having great faith. Those who have this kind of faith were mostly outsiders, that is, not belonging to the Jewish religion. Canaanites believe in the Baalim and the Baalot, gods and goddesses of the Earth.  But this particular Canaanite in Gospel believe that Jesus is the “Son of David”, the promised messiah. She shouted when Jesus came to the region of Tyre and Sidon,  “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me.” Jesus was her only hope, she could not afford to let this opportunity pass by without Jesus healing her daughter who was tormented by a demon.  After some arguments with the woman, Jesus saw in her something special and said, ‘Woman, great is your faith.” With that Jesus healed her daughter.Drouais_Cristo_e_la_Cananea

What constitutes, then, the greatness of her faith that Jesus saw?  Let us examine their conversation. Jesus told her, “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.”  At this response Jesus said “O woman, great is your faith!  Let it be done for you as you wish.” What struck Jesus most in the response of the woman was that she only asked for a scrap, a crumb, a fragment which is small and considered by many as useless, dirty, a garbage.  But what seem to be a garbage for others was of true value to the woman. That was all she needed from Jesus enough to heal her daughter from the torments of the demon. Spectacular things from Jesus do matter to her. She had faith that even a scrap means a lot for her.

There are more like this woman in our Gospel whom Jesus classified as having great faith. One of which is the old woman, who suffered from haemorrhages for 12 years. In her desperation, Jesus was her only hope. She believed that by just touching the tassel of the cloak of Jesus she will be healed.  Jesus felt it. Jesus told the woman, great is your faith. Another one is the Roman official who had a daughter who was sick. When Jesus said that He would go the house of the official, the Roman official said, “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof… but only say the word and my daughter will be healed.”  Jesus then said to the official, great is your faith. In these three examples of greatness of faith, what is common is that they only ask a small thing from Jesus. But this small thing they believe was enough give healing and liberation from a demonic slavery.

The disciples had little faith. In several occasions Jesus said this to them. Peter, during the last Sunday’s reading, after he was saved by Jesus from drowning, was told that he had little faith. His was only to prove that it was really Jesus walking on the water. The Pharisees and the Scribes, the elders of the people expressed no faith at all.  They asked big signs from Jesus to prove for Himself that He is the anointed one of God.  For Jesus, their faith does not qualify for greatness because they only want to prove something.

The greatness of the faith of the Canaanite woman, the old woman  with haemorrhages and the Roman official lies on their believing that a small thing from Jesus, even just a scrap or  a crumb, a touch on the tassel, a word will give so much power to heal. They did not ask for a proof for they already believed in Jesus.  Such was their faith in Jesus.

Let us now examine ourselves. How is my faith?  Is it as great as that of the Canaanite woman, or as little as that of the disciples? Or perhaps we don’t have faith anymore because all we want from God is to prove to us that He is God.

 

How are you growing in your faith? Please comment below. 

 

Image credit: commons.wikimedia.org, flickr.com

 

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