The reading from Isaiah ends with this statement; that God’s house is open to all. The prophets of the Old Testament were sent to Israel, the northern kingdom, and Judah, the southern kingdom, to bring about conversion. The people had intermingled with those who worshiped other gods and had begun to worship them as well. The God of their forefathers sent the prophets to warn them of their sin and to call them back to the Himself, the one true God. If you are familiar with biblical history, you know that both kingdoms were invaded and conquered, the Kingdom of Israel in 722 BC, never to be re-established, and the Kingdom of Judah in 586 BC. The prophets of the Old Testament speak of other people and nations. They inform the chosen people that God is a God of all people and all nations. Since the chosen people were rejecting the true God, He would invite all nations to be His people. St. Paul, in his Letter to the
St. Paul, in his Letter to the Romans, speaks to the Gentiles; his primary audience that he was sent to preach the Gospel. Paul’s mission was largely to the Gentile people as his own Jewish people by and large rejected him and his ministry. He does not give up on the Jews, rather hopes that when the Jews see the change and conversion of the Gentiles they would become jealous and seek conversion to Jesus as their savior as well. This is an example of Isaiah’s invitation to all people in action. In our Gospel passage today (Mt 15:2128) Jesus seems to be rejecting a Canaanite woman who pleads for the healing of
In our Gospel passage today (Mt 15:2128) Jesus seems to be rejecting a Canaanite woman who pleads for the healing of her daughter possessed and tormented by a demon. This seems so out of the norm for Jesus, who heals so many people, even those outside of the “house of Israel.” Perhaps Jesus was testing this poor woman. Seeing just how much she would take before she would decide help was not coming? But this woman was determined and had great faith! She does not give up easily; she perseveres, knowing Jesus can bring the healing her daughter needs. This woman loved her daughter with her whole being and knew in her heart Jesus was the cure for her.
Perhaps Jesus tests each of us at times. Will you continue to ask for the healing you need, for the strength to conquer a sinful habit, the conversion of your loved ones, for peace in your own lives and for the world? Will you? Or will you become tired and discouraged, giving up your prayer? Like this Canaanite woman, I urge you to continue to seek Jesus in prayer; He will not abandon you! We are the Gentiles God has opened Himself up to; we have been invited into a loving relationship with the true God, so continue to seek Him and ask Him for what you need.