Homilette for Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Wednesday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time

(Numbers 13:1-2.25-14.1.26a-29a.34-35; Matthew 15:21-28)

How the gospel today touches our hearts! It not only shows the value of persistent prayer but also the valor of a woman who seeks the welfare of her child. We must, however, take care not to be scandalized by the remark of Jesus comparing non-Jews to dogs. He only means to say that his mighty works are not to be frivolously squandered as they are meant to foster a living faith in God’s goodness. As the woman shows that faith, Jesus readily grants her request.

Rather than contrast the urgency of the woman’s plea with the hesitation of Jesus to help her, it is more instructive to note the difference between the disciple’s desire to dismiss the woman and Jesus’ willingness to listen to her. Like the disciples we may at times not be interested to give the time of day to people who come to us begging assistance. It is true that granting them what they ask often is not prudent or possible. Yet to listen to their needs, to respond in truth and courtesy, and to sincerely pray for their welfare, whether or not we concede to their requests, are expectations of us as the Lord’s servants.