Our readings this weekend invite everyone to a loving relationship with God. Isaiah states that; “my house shall be called a house of prayer for all people.” The psalm response states; “O God, let all the nations praise you!” The reading from Romans tells us St. Paul is the apostle to the Gentiles, those who were non-Jewish. And in the Gospel reading from Matthew Jesus is in pagan territory and has an interaction with a Canaanite woman.
What do we make of this theme? I believe one thing we should be thankful for is God’s gracious call to know Him. We, Gentiles in the mind of our Jewish ancestors, have received the call from God in spite of God’s covenant relationship with the Jews. In the bible we see God’s relationship with His chosen people develop into this universal call due to Jesus’ actions of inclusiveness and the work of St. Paul and others who took the gospel message to the Gentiles. This was a point of contention in the early Church as you can read in the Acts of the Apostles, but God’s Will and the Holy Spirit prevailed. We should be grateful for this because these actions have made our Catholic faith accessible to everyone rather than just the Jews. As St. Paul states in the reading from the Letter to the Romans; “For the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable.” God offers His loving gifts to everyone and if we accept them, He will never take them back!
Another aspect of the theme of our readings is our responsibility to share the gifts God gives us. When we were baptized, we became missionaries for Christ. Each of us is meant to spread the gospel message of love in our own way. We do this by raising our children in the faith and showing them the importance of weekly attendance at Mass. Our faith should be the foundation for everything we do which shows our children, co-workers and others we interact with the importance of faith in our lives. We show others that in spite of our human weakness we can be made holy again through the sacraments, especially Confession and Eucharist. These are some of the ways we are missionaries.
The main theme of Vatican Council II was the universal call to holiness which is an extension of our scripture readings today. Be an engaged Catholic! Accept the gifts God wants to give you, and pass them on!