20 Aug 2023 – 20th Sunday, (A)

20 Aug 2023 – 20th Sunday, (A)

(1) : Isaiah 56:1. 6-7

The Lord will bring foreigners to worship in Jerusalem

Thus says the Lord: Have a care for justice, act with integrity, for soon my salvation will come and my integrity be manifest.

Foreigners who have attached themselves to Yahweh to serve him and to love his name and be his servants —
all who observe the sabbath, not profaning it, and cling to my covenant — these I will bring to my holy mountain.
I will make them joyful in my house of prayer.
Their holocausts and their sacrifices will be accepted on my altar,
for my house will be called a house of prayer for all the peoples.

Responsorial: Psalm 66:2-3, 5-6, 8

R./: O God, let all the nations praise you!

O God, be gracious and bless us
and let your face shed its light upon us.
So will your ways be known upon earth
and all nations learn your saving help. (R./)

Let the nations be glad and exult
for you rule the world with justice.
With fairness you rule the peoples,
you guide the nations on earth. (R./)

Let the peoples praise you, O God;
let all the peoples praise you.
May God still give us his blessing
till the ends of the earth revere him. (R./)

(2) Romans 11:13ff

Paul trusts that eventually his fellow-Jews also will come to Christ

Now I am speaking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I glorify my ministry in order to make my own people jealous, and thus save some of them. For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead! for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. Just as you were once disobedient to God but have now received mercy because of their disobedience, so they have now been disobedient so that, by the mercy shown to you, they too may now receive mercy. For God has imprisoned all in disobedience so that he may be merciful to all.

Gospel: Matthew 15:21-28

Jesus answers the prayer of a persistent woman and praises her faith

Jesus left that place and went away to the district of Tyre and Sidon. Just then a Canaanite woman from that region came out and started shouting, “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is tormented by a demon. ” But he did not answer her at all. And his disciples came and urged him, saying, “Send her away, for she keeps shouting after us. ” He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. ” But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me. ” He answered, “It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs. ” She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table. ” Then Jesus answered her, “Woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish. ” And her daughter was healed instantly.


Is God’s welcome only for the few?

1. Not a church of pigeonholes: For office filing purposes pigeonholes are splendid. Bureaucrats love tidy compartments where accounts, applications, drafts etc. can be systematically stored — everything in its proper place. A good office motto might be: No surprises and no disorder! There’s a temptation to think of God’s grace as parcelled out in a similarly neat, orderly way — as something reserved for the God-fearing elect, the People of God. Historically, many of our Jewish forebears adopted this view, and they (and we!) require the universalist message of Isaiah: God wants a house of prayer open to all the nations. Christians need to remember it too: God wills ALL human beings to be saved; in the Father’s house there are many mansions.

2. Blessings of Loss: Our heavenly Father draws people towards Himself in strange, unpredictable ways. Just as in a family the misfortune of one member can serve to unite the others in a new, protective loyalty; or as in business the failure of one concern can direct energy into a new, more productive line.. so the rejection of Our Saviour by the Jews resulted in His more rapid acceptance throughout the Gentile world. It’s an ill wind blows good to nobody! Even the lapses and sins of mankind can be turned to good account, says Paul in a profound but difficult section of his letter to the Romans: “God has imprisoned all men in disobedience only to show mercy on all.” Our own past sins will not bar us from Christ-they only show us how much we need him (“To seek and save what was lost.”)

3. Crumbs in the Kitchen: Why does Jesus want to limit himself to “the lost sheep of the house of Israel?” Was he not concerned for people of other nations, like that foreign woman with the loud voice, who pleaded for his help? She didn’t give up; that’s the first thing. Second, she found the perfect answer: “Even the pups get the crumbs that fall from the master’s table!” Thirdly, her prayer was answered, and her faith warmly praised. But still, what do we make of the initial remark? A popular idiom in Israel, used by Jesus to convey that his primary mission was the conversion of his own Jewish people? Historically, that was his way; first to revive the Chosen People, so that these in turn would furnish a “house of prayer for all nations.” However, even during his lifetime He was willing to receive those pagans who came to him; and he predicted that in future “many will come from East and West, and will sit down at table in the Kingdom of God.” Notice too the world-wide mission of the disciples, after the Resurrection (Mat. 28:18.)

4. Expanding circles: That’s how Christian faith should spread, like the rippling circles expanding on the surface when a stone drops into a still pond. First to the Jews, then to the Gentiles. Always handed on by direct contact, the sharing of trust, the witness of peaceful conviction, the bearing of one another’s burdens. But will our path of faith be smooth? Or will there be setbacks and obstacles, objections from people more clever than ourselves, a contrary wind of current opinion hostile to religious belief? In such circumstances, the Canaanite woman offers inspiration, with her iron resolve coupled with good humour and ready wit.

One Comment

  1. Thara Benedicta says:

    Key Message:

    Our faith directly pulls in our Lord Jesus also into our battle!!


    Noah built the ark for 110 years when it had never rained at all. Even though he was jeered and mocked, he never left building it. When Noah was not able to understand what is meant by rain, how could water come from the sky, he just built the ark in faith without any human reasoning.

    Abraham was the father of faith, for whom God has the promise of becoming father of many nations at the age of 75. But till his 99th year he did not have even a single child. He still believed the impossible to happen. Because he believed, he was counted as righteous by God.

    The lady who was having the issue of blood got the miracle from our Lord Jesus even without His knowledge because of her faith. Ho, it is so funny that our Lord Jesus is trying to find out who tapped out the power from Him without His knowledge! Faith brings out miracles from God, without God realising it!!

    In today’s Gospel reading a mother pleaded for her daughter consistently to our Lord Jesus. Nothing could shake the faith of the mother. Our Lord Jesus tested her and marvelled at her faith. Finally, He appreciated her and blessed her wish to be done.

    A testimony: “Today evening I saw a mother whose daughter was very difficult to handle. The daughter was short-tempered, impatient and had an unruly behaviour. The mother was respected by everybody but her daughter was disliked by almost everyone. The mother was getting into depression mode, always worrying about her daughter. She was not hopeful that her daughter would become a sweet kind child. Then she heard the silent little voice telling her, ‘You should exercise your faith for the conversion of your daughter’. Whenever she was inclined to worry, she said with faith, ‘Thank you Lord Jesus, for you are blessing her as a holy child’. Then her daughter progressively changed into a calm and sweet child.”

    Through today’s Gospel reading our Lord Jesus teaches us to fight with faith. We should never give up on any battle. Our faith directly pulls in our Lord Jesus also into our battle.

    There are multiple ways in which our Lord Jesus cures us:

    1. Our Lord Jesus searches and goes to the person to cure him, when there is no chance of the person coming to Him:

    People are incapable of having faith: We read about a man who was lying near the pool of Bethesda for 38 years, unable to get up and without any other human help. So our Lord Jesus went in search of him and cured him. Another example is the devil possessed person who used to scratch and beat himself and keep crying in pain all the time. Our Lord Jesus went in search of him and cured him.

    2. People approach our Lord Jesus in ease and get cured:

    Easy Faith: Jesus cured the ten lepers when they approached him for a miracle healing. Many of the new testament miracles fall into this category. They have the faith required to get healed. They have already seen our Lord Jesus performing such miracles so they know that He will surely cure them. The world expects a cure. So it’s not difficult to have faith here.

    3. People approach our Lord Jesus in unreasonable and unique circumstances and get cured:

    Faith in challenging situations: The Cannanite mother in today’s reading is a perfect example. She refused to let go of our Lord Jesus. Whether Jesus plans or not to cure her daughter, does not matter to her. She knew that our Lord Jesus could cure her daughter and wanted to make it happen. She forced Him to cure her by her faith in Him. Similarly, our Mamma Mary forced Her Son to change water into wine by her faith. Mamma Mary never says “No” and also does not accept a “No”.

    Another scenario we see in the Bible is our Almighty Father pleading to Jacob to let Him go for it is daybreak. Our Almighty Father could not go because Jacob was still not willing to go away from His presence. So the Almighty Father could not go since Jacob did not want to go away from Him. So when we persist to be with our loving Almighty Father, He will not be able to leave us. We should learn to be persistent in our prayers and never give up.

    A mother narrated this story – “My four-year old kid told her grandma, ‘Grandma, you should not die. If you die, I will cry’. Then I asked her this question, ‘What will you do, if I die?’ My little one thought for a long time and said clearly, ‘I will also die’. I am deeply touched by her faith in me.”

    Similarly, our faith straightaway touches the heart of our loving Lord Jesus. Our Lord Jesus is already a compassionate God. When we have faith in Him, His compassionate heart is stirred to do something for us.

    A child was struggling in her studies since he had a learning disability. The father was coaching the child and was getting worried. He told the child, “We are struggling to complete the schooling. Are you not worried?” The child immediately replied, “When you are there to take care of me, why should I be worried? Anyway, you will take care of me”.

    Can we throw our worries a long distance away from us and substitute it with our faith in our Almighty Father? Anyways, we are His children. Our faith deeply moves the heart of our Almighty Father!!

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