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Sunday, August 17, 2014

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20th Sunday Ordinary Time

Isaiah 56:1, 6-7
Romans 11:13-15, 29-32
Psalm 67:2-3, 5-6, 8
Matthew 15:21-28

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what is jesus teaching us today?

Jesus "withdrew to the district of Tyre and Sidon." —Matthew 15:21

Let's look at today's Gospel passage of a "politically incorrect" interaction from the viewpoint of discipleship. Jesus took his disciples into Tyre and Sidon, a pagan, Gentile stronghold. Jesus wanted to retreat far away from Jewish territory and spend undisturbed time with His disciples, teaching them in a "retreat." In all contexts, Jesus was always teaching His disciples.

How did Jesus teach the disciples in this interaction?

  1. Jesus ignores the Gentile woman (Mt 15:23). The disciples, and all Jews, had ignored Gentiles their entire lives, and Jesus illustrated their behavior back to them.
  2. Next, the disciples told Jesus to send the woman away (Mt 15:23). Again, Jesus teaches His disciples, by not sending her away. Disciples are supposed to bring people to Jesus, not send them away.
  3. Third, Jesus refers to the woman, and all Gentiles, as "dogs" (Mt 15:26). He is showing the disciples how callously they have been treating Gentiles their entire lives.
  4. Finally, Jesus teaches His disciples the great lesson that Gentiles also hunger for God's love and healing, as do the Jews. Jesus treated the woman as the disciples had been treating her. Then He treated her as God wanted and healed her daughter (Mt 15:28).

The disciples got the message, for Peter later baptized many Gentiles (Acts 10:48). Will we get the message? Are we lovingly bringing people to Jesus or rudely sending them away?

Prayer:  Jesus, when You hold a mirror in front of me, may I see the reality of my life, repent, and live as Your faithful servant.

Promise:  "God's gifts and His call are irrevocable." —Rm 11:29

Praise:  Praise You, risen Lord Jesus, Teacher, Master, and Lord! Glory and praise to You forever and ever!

Reference:  (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, February 19, 2014

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