Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Faith is not a privilege of a few, nor is it the property of those who think they are so good

“I know God will not give me anything I can't handle. I just wish He didn't trust me so much.”--Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta

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.

Do you ever have those days (weeks? months? years?) when it seems nothing goes your way? Personally, I find it all too easy when this happens to assume I have somehow offended or opposed God. Both the Old and New Testament readings today from Mass speak of people opposing God’s decrees.

In the Gospel, it is one Canaanite woman who sets herself in opposition to God, in the form of Christ Jesus. Here, the opposition is of a different sort. She does not refuse to follow God’s direction; she simply refuses to believe He will not help her. Note that when the disciples ask Jesus to send her away, He doesn’t. He engages her in conversation. Perhaps He was testing her faith. Perhaps He was speaking out loud what the disciples were thinking in order to turn it on its head as a lesson for them. In any case, she persisted and was rewarded. Her faith in the goodness of God helped her move through the opposition and secure the healing of her daughter.

This reading gives me hope for when I feel opposed or challenged. I can ask myself, is my faith in God’s goodness being tested? God challenges us in our lives – sometimes to purify us for the work ahead; sometimes to test our faith. In the end, however, if we allow Him, He will use our challenges to bring us closer to Him.

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