Wednesday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time
(Numbers 13:1-2.25-14.1.26a-29a.34-35; Matthew 15:21-28)
The movie “Chariots of Fire” features the men of great heart who composed the 1920 English Olympic track team. In one scene their principal rivals from America demonstrate technical excellence in training. They do warm-up calisthenics as if they were jet engines tuning up for take-off. In the end, however, the Americans are bettered by the determined Brits. Such heart seems in short supply among the Israelites as they hear the reports of the inhabitants of the Promised Land in the first reading.
The Israelites fail to see that they have God on their side. He has saved them from Pharaoh’s mighty army and provided for their needs in the desert. Still the people cower after hearing of formidable enemies. They should know by now that it is not any physical advantage that would provide the margin of victory but God’s presence on their behalf.
We are aware that sometimes both sides in an armed conflict appeal to the same God for assistance. He will ultimately bring victory to only one opponent. We must realize, however, that winning is neither the only thing nor the most important thing. What looms over triumph is the combination of fighting justly and trusting that God loves us whether we win or not.