Sunday 20 August 2017
Week IV Psalter. 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time.
Isaiah 56:1, 6-7. Psalm 66(67):2-3, 5-6, 8. Romans 11:13-15, 29-32. Matthew 15:21-28.
O God, let all the nations praise you! — Psalm 66(67):2-3, 5-6, 8.
‘Woman, great is your faith!’
Jesus’ encounter with the Canaanite woman is one of the great dialogues in the gospels. While Jesus’ response to her request appears harsh, it invites a wonderful riposte from the woman that reveals the depth of her faith in Jesus’ ability to heal—even the scraps from the children’s table are sufficient for healing. As a Gentile, her faith-filled petition is even more significant in that it contrasts the lack of faith Jesus encounters among the house of Israel.
The faith of Gentiles such as this woman is a precursor to the spread of the Christian faith across the world after Pentecost. There are no barriers to faith in Christ. Attempts to restrict membership of the church to a few runs contrary to the operation of the Holy Spirit. The only requirement for membership is faith.