Homily: 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle A

Readings of the Day

There was an assessment for a group of young men picked to manage a new enterprise.
The CEO was told that group had no team concept, and were unqualified for the operation. One man was hot tempered and prone to fits of temper, another had no qualities to lead, two brothers had more loyalty to family than the group, one had gotten blacklisted by the Better Business Bureau, one was a sceptic whose attitude would undermine morale, and another was a strong radical who was also unstable.  There was one young man who was singled out for greatness: an intelligent, capable, ambitious young man who could handle money and had contacts in high places.  The report recommended Judas Iscariot for the fast track of promotion and he be entrusted with the most responsibility.

Today’s reading begins with Jesus and the disciples in foreign territory; He’s probably left home to after a nasty confrontation with a group from Jerusalem who challenged his fidelity to Jewish practice, and where he turned the question back on them in a way that embarrassed them.    Women didn’t matter much anyway, and for Jesus to speak publicly with any woman was inappropriate. The Canaanite woman, a foreigner, not the primary concern. But her faith moves Him, she is willing to do anything to get through to Him. Her faith makes everything possible. The power of Jesus’ miracle rests in the fact He does it at a distance: He doesn’t have to be there for it to work.

We are called to reach out to the world as part of Christ’s mission.  We may feel it’s a shrinking church, but it doesn’t mean our vision should shrink, or we should be tempted to become an elite. Like Jesus, we’re called to reach out to those who ask us. We don’t need special qualification: the Disciples weren’t recruited because they were the cream of the crop; they were men who already had lives and a purpose in life. They had no special training, no special talent, no special gift. Jesus worked a miracle on them to help them become the foundation of the Church.

Jesus comes to us in His Body and Blood, calls us to follow Him and live as He lived. He calls us to respond as He did, to reach out to heal in ways we may never see. All we need is faith: faith like the Canaanite woman showed in today’s Gospel.

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