20th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A
Is. 56:1. 6-7 Rom. 11:13-15, 29-32 Mat. 15:21-28
Theme: Salvation is for Everyone
The readings of today present to us the inclusive nature of the God we serve. He is not exclusive or selective, but open and disposed to make us members of his household if we desire to be part of it. We see that wonderful attribute of God in the three readings we have for this Sunday. In the inclusiveness of God, he gives all of us the opportunity to attain salvation; nobody is excluded, except individuals who choose to be excluded through their actions. The choices we make in this regard will place us where we truly belong at the end of our earthly pilgrimage. In the first reading, the prophet Isaiah points out the fact that salvation is not limited to a particular group of people. It is rather open to all who are willing to be part of it and follow the way and teachings of God. In view of this, it can be said that the attainment of salvation is dependent to some extent on our disposition towards God and the choices we make in our daily lives.
Consequently, St. Paul in the second reading, says that the mercy of God is open to all with a positive disposition to receive it. It is not limited to any individual or group. The mercy of God endures in the lives of all those who receive it. St. Paul admonishes us by saying that God never takes back his gifts that he has given. What we need is to always remain steadfast and trust in God; no matter the situation we find ourselves in life. In the gospel we see the scenario that plays out between Jesus and the Canaanite woman, who came to request that Jesus heals her sick daughter. She knew what she wanted from Jesus and was determined to get it from him. Even when Jesus decided to test her faith, she did not keep quiet or get angry. The Canaanite woman exhibited the wonderful attributes that is needed by all of us in our relationship with God. The two attributes are faith and persistence. When we make requests from God, we must have faith and be persistent in prayer until God answers us.
The ways of God are quite different from our human ways. As humans, we sometimes find ourselves excluding others because of one reason or the other. We hear things like, he is not in my class, he belongs to the opposition group, he is not from our country, he is not from our ethnic group, he is not from our church and so forth. The readings we have today encourages us to drop that attitude and practice inclusiveness. That way we will be breaking the barriers that are created by excluding others and build a bond of friendship that includes everyone who is interested to be part of it. Let us emulate Jesus who broke the boundary by healing the daughter of the Canaanite woman. Our liturgy of today also points out the universality of the church. People should not be excluded from the church for any reason whatsoever. The church should be a place of refuge and solace for all God’s children, whether you are poor or rich. May God grant us the openness to accept all those we encounter in our daily lives, in the name of the father and of the son and of the holy spirit. Amen. Peace be with you.