[Untitled]‎ > ‎

Gospel Reflection for the 20th Sunday OT 2011

posted Aug 10, 2011, 4:58 PM by Alberto dela Cruz


So rare an occasion to find the Sundays Ordinary Time readings, all of them, having one and the same theme.  Today’s set of readings, the 20th Sunday Year A, is one of those rare occasions.

For Jewish traditional belief, Isaiah’s words for foreigners, Paul’s inclusion of the Gentiles, Matthew’s depiction of the region of Tyre and Sidon and the Canaanite woman, are elements of the outside and despised world.  Although lived and wrote in different context and different time, the three writers have expounded in a beautiful unison the radical and inclusive interpretation of God’s Word:  that what makes people really “inside” or “outside” is not their racial or geographical affiliations but whether they are inwardly moved by the mercy of God to decide to join themselves to Him in faith or not.

In the Gospel, the woman is depicted as someone who is really with Jesus and in Jesus.  Her complete identity; a woman from a foreign and reviled region, sets the contrast between Jewish belief and God’s will.  Ironically, it is Jesus who struggles, establishing the spiritual perimeter of being with and in Him to which the woman, (the weak and outcast), adhere, i.e. to have faith in Him.  It is not normal for Jesus to insult anyone but He resorts to using strong offensive words being said to the woman but directly addressed to Jewish fanatics who keep remaining “outside.”   

After being humiliated, the woman who is also a deeply caring mother for her child does not only receive what she asks for.  She is now made an icon of being in God’s family.  What really brings her in is “O woman, great is your faith.”

What really matters in our life of faith is not what we know about it and what we get from it but what we give up and humbly surrender to God.  Amen.

fr ambet