20th Sunday in Ordinary Time 2017 – Year A

20 August 2017

Isaiah 56:1, 6-7
Romans 11:13-15, 29-32
Matthew 15:21-28

An Invitation…
            … to strangers…
                     … can do marvels…

This Gospel story can make us ask, why did Jesus respond to the Canaanite woman in this way?

But perhaps rather than wondering if Jesus did the right thing or not in his response to the woman, it would be better for us to focus on our own life, our relationships and reactions to people who come across our path unexpectedly.

Jesus was in this area – a foreign environment – at the time because of the strong opposition of the Pharisees – he was rejected by the religious leaders.

  • How often have you found yourself in a strange environment?
  • When last did you feel like a stranger?
  • Do you meet people who are not part of your circle of friends or work group?
  • When last did you feel rejected?
  • Have you said or done something to cause others to feel rejected?

In our changing world new horizons open up daily as more and more people move from their own home base to new environments. The new horizons may come about through personal choice or they may be forced on us by circumstances. No matter which way they come they present a challenge.

The new environment, our personal “region of Tyre and Sidon” can be the place of a new beginning just as it was for Jesus when he met the woman who kept asking for healing for her daughter. The new beginning happens when we get over the initial resistance to what comes at us or when we find ourselves challenged by new demands, new places, new cultures and new needs. While we may not be able to meet all the ways we or others would wish, we know that our choices do make a difference – we grow and others grow by creating a new beginning.

  • What new beginnings can you name in your life?
  • How has your life been enriched by new beginnings?
  • When last did you welcome a ‘stranger’, a rejected or self-rejecting person?
  • When did you say to someone, “you have great faith”?
  • How is your faith today?

– Fr John Dunne SMA