Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Catholic Reflections 621 : Homily Twentieth Sunday of the Year. - A - Sunday, August 20, 2017

Homily Twentieth Sunday of the Year. - A - Sunday, August 20, 2017

       First Reading: Isaiah 56:1. 6-7
       Psalm: Ps 66:2-3. 5-6. 8. “Psalm: 
O God, let all the nations praise you.”
       Second Reading: Romans 11:13-15. 29-32
       Gospel: Matthew 15:21-28

Please listen to my audio recordings of the readings, prayers and reflections for the Twentieth Sunday of the Year. - A - Sunday, August 20, 2017 by clicking this link here:   https://soundcloud.com/user-633212303/faith-hope-and-love-20th-sunday-ordinary-a-edition-43-2017 (edition 43)
[“’gospel’ values included in the readings:” inclusion, welcome, openness, mercy, compassion, persistence in faith]


Our prayers and thoughts are with the people of Barcelona, Spain, after another senseless act of violence and hatred. We pray for peace in the hearts and minds of people everywhere. 

The readings this weekend remind us of one of the key teachings and attitudes of Our Lord….   Which reveals to us, a central value and attitude in the life of the Holy Trinity: (Father, Son and Holy Spirit!)…. and that is openness, inclusion and welcome.  Love that reaches out and is always open to the other and a love that is always open to “yet one more person being part of the family.”... and one more, and one more after that,  and so on endlessly, ......  Our Lord shows us God’s nature as inclusive, welcoming, compassionate, forgiving and flexible to be able to respond to the other and their need. God’s values are constant, eternal and powerful, and at the same time, God is open and responsive.  Wonderful !

Whenever we come across situations that are restrictive, “not –listening”, unwelcoming and exclusive, then it is very likely that the value is not resonating with Our Lord’ teachings.   The church, in obedience and in imitation of the Lord, is always striving to be a welcoming, compassionate, open and inclusive community.

The faith of that lady who persisted in asking Our Lord for what she needed is sadly in stark contrast with the response many of Our Lord’ own people were giving to Our Lord himself, who was ‘one of them’ – one of their own people..  one of the chosen ones. Many of his own people were rejecting him.  And here was a lady from a different place and a different religion who knows she is taking a risk in even approaching him, and yet she keeps persisting even when she gets an initial and noticeable rebuff from the disciples and even by Our Lord’ initial response.

The lady persists because she KNOWS that Jesus is the one who can help. She knows that he is the messiah who will welcome the chosen ones to his table. And she hopes and prays that her faith in him and her proximity to the table will be enough to share in the blessings of the table.   The Canaanite woman is willing to share in any scrap or morsel of the richness God has to offer, which, ironically, is not being appreciated by those who sit at the table…..And she is RIGHT.  Our Lord does not merely say, you can enjoy the scraps that fall from the chosen one’s table… He is saying to her; because of your faith, because of your persistence….  you can JOIN the table…  for -  What faith!!  What persistence!!

We cannot see the faces of those involved,   but if we did and saw their body language I think a deeper reality would become apparent.  Our Lord’s reaction to her first up appears on paper to be cold and can seem (at first glance)  to be rather harsh....    but I believe that he was really asking her, in well-known terms...   is it right that I who was sent to the chosen ones of Israel, should take the food I have to give and cast it to outsiders??    Or perhaps he was giving her an opportunity to show just how strong her faith in him was.. how strong her determination,  and how different her response is to the lukewarm response of these chosen ones around him for whom he was offering his good news.

I imagine that when the lady responded how she did, Our Lord would have smiled...    cast his head back and laughed...  not a scornful laugh but a laugh of delight and recognition.  THIS lady GETS it...  this lady understands when my people do not. This humble woman just wants to share in any small piece of the blessings that others cannot even see.,....    and then his warmth and inclusion are complete.....

There are references to Our Lord starting out addressing the chosen ones of Israel, but clearly, by the end of his ministry, this has widened to all who will respond...   The chosen ones are anyone and everyone who responds in faith and love and trust in what The Lord is offering...      This is a blessing of immense proportions.
 ·        FR. PAUL W. KELLY
Archive of homilies and reflections is at: http://homilycatholic.blogspot.com.au
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Twentieth Sunday of the Year. - A

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
Brothers and sisters, let us acknowledge our sins,
and so prepare ourselves to celebrate the sacred mysteries.
Lord Jesus, you are the image of the unseen God: Lord, have mercy.//You are the firstborn of all creation: Christ, have mercy//You are the head of the body, the Church: Lord, have mercy//
Memorial Acclamation

We proclaim your Death, O Lord, and profess your Resurrection until you come again.

Preparation of the Gifts
Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation, for through your goodness we have received the bread we offer you: fruit of the earth and work of human hands, it will become for us the bread of life.
       Blessed be God for ever.

Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation, for through your goodness we have received the wine we offer you: fruit of the vine and work of human hands, it will become our spiritual drink.
       Blessed be God for ever.
Pray, brothers and sisters, that my sacrifice and yours may be acceptable to God,
the almighty Father.
     May the Lord accept the sacrifice at your hands, for the praise and glory of his name, for our good and the good of all his holy Church.

Sundays Ordinary II p.29

Euch Prayer One p.49

Go in peace.

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