Wednesday, August 3, 2011

"The great act of faith is when a man decides he is not God."

You must be strong, dear brothers and sisters. You must be strong with the strength that comes from faith. ~Bl. Pope John Paul II

Gospel text (Mt 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 he did not say a word in answer to her.
His 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 him 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 her daughter was healed from that hour.

The Canaanite woman cried out to Jesus: " 'Lord, Son of David, have pity on me! My daughter is terribly troubled by a demon.' He gave her no word of response" (Mt 15:22-23). She kept shouting. Jesus replied, "My mission is only to lost sheep of the house of Israel" (Mt 15:24). She pleaded, "Help me, Lord!" (Mt 15:25) Jesus answered: "It is not right to take the food of sons and daughters and throw it to the dogs" (Mt 15:26). She insisted (Mt 15:27). Her wish came to pass; "that very moment her daughter got better" (Mt 15:28). Why did her daughter get better? Her daughter was delivered not because of the mother's persistence or persuasiveness but because of the woman's great faith (Mt 15:28).

This woman heard only what must have seemed like discouraging words from Jesus rather than great promises. She believed in Jesus anyway, because she had heard of His great works (Jn 14:11). Like the man born blind, she must have intuitively known that no one could do such healing works if God was not with Him (Jn 9:33). She knew that what Jesus was saying had to be outweighed by His power, and that His compassion was evident in His works. So she persevered in imploring Jesus for her request, believing in Jesus' ultimate power, refusing to be discouraged by what she saw and heard in the present moment.

To whom do you listen? We hear many negative, discouraging voices. We must shut out these voices and make it our priority to listen only to God. Yet, even when what the Lord says seems discouraging, we must pray without ceasing and not lose heart (Lk 18:1). "Do not give in to discouragement" (2 Cor 4:1).

The Lord is looking for faith (Lk 18:8). Will He find faith in You? Have faith in Jesus (Jn 14:1). Have faith in God (Jn 14:1).

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