Today my youngest son leaves the house and heads for college. He has opted not live in a dorm but has rented a small apartment and will live by himself – close to campus. I have mixed emotions about this. I am proud of him for taking on this responsibility but I am also a little worried about how he will manage between the classes and the necessity to work in order to pay his bills. So I went to today’s readings hoping to find something obvious in them to help alleviate these anxieties. I read them, thought about them and was coming up with nothing so I did what I always do when I’m not sure I’m getting the true meaning from the Gospel, I seek the wisdom of someone else and today, as in many other days, it was Bishop Barron. Take a look at Bishop Barron’s reflection from this morning…
Friends, the Gospel for today is the account of the persistent Canaanite woman. Like all of the “hard” Gospel stories, it packs a spiritual punch.
God’s salvific purposes are for the whole world. Israel was chosen so that they would be a vehicle for the salvation of all. Therefore, Jesus’ primary mission is indeed to his fellow Jews, but throughout the Gospels, there are hints that his ministry has a wider purpose.
When Jesus entered a pagan territory, a Canaanite woman called out, “Have pity on me, Lord, Son of David! My daughter is tormented by a demon.” She represents the longing of the world for the justice, the mercy, and the love of God. She senses correctly where this is to be found. She embodies the hunger of lost humanity.
Jesus’ responses move from silence, to an indirect rebuke, to an outright insult. And rolling with the punches, the woman responds with faith that pleases the Lord. Is Jesus testing the woman in order that she might know just how great her faith is? That was St. Augustine’s explanation for why God sometimes says no to repeated prayer. And this is why perseverance in prayer is so strongly recommended in the great tradition.
After reading this, I now know what I must do in order for my son Tony to be successful; and it’s the same thing Tony must do in order to make his mission at school a success – we must both be persistent with our prayer; we must both persevere and be diligent in asking God to provide for Tony. Our prayers may not be answered in the time and manner with which we would like, but in staying true to the message Jesus gives us in the Gospel this morning, persistence will pay off and God will provide.
I will persevere in my prayers for Tony…but not just Tony – all of my children, my beautiful wife Sarah (who by the way leaves for LA today to be with Cecilia and Garrett as they bring their first child into this world on Sunday – say a prayer for them please), my extended family, friends and those with whom I have no allegiance with at all. Prayer is a powerful tool and I will remain true to its purpose and cause.
Do something great for our Lord today – humble yourself in prayer and be willing to eat the scraps of the Master for they provide the full nourishment you need to persevere in this life.
God’s will, not mine, be done.
Be not afraid; just have faith.
Jesus, I trust in You.
He must increase; I must decrease.
Lord, if You wish, You can make me clean.
But you man of God chose righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience and gentleness. Compete well for the faith.
Eternal God, in Whom mercy is endless and the treasury of compassion – inexhaustible, look kindly upon us and increase Your mercy in us so that in difficult moments we may not despair nor become despondent but with great confidence submit ourselves to Your holy will which is Love and Mercy itself.