Sunday, August 16 at St. Francis Xavier Parish
Wow, we are already in the middle of the month of August and the 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time is upon us. As we are preparing for the celebration of the Sunday Mass as a parish community, I invite you to ponder the Gospel of this Sunday and the reflection that is provided below to enter more deeply into the word God speaks to us this weekend.
“In today’s gospel, a Canaanite woman comes up to Jesus and asks for his mercy, not for her but for her daughter. Now, Canaanites were people displaced a millennium before the time of Jesus, when the Israelites took possession of the land. The Israelites even enslaved some of the Canaanites in those early years. It was “easy” to look down on a Canaanite, as they were not considered part of God’s chosen people. Jesus’ behavior, like that of the disciples, can seem a bit shocking. Jesus initially refuses to acknowledge the woman, and the disciples seek to have her dismissed. Jesus finally does speak, only to say that he was “sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” That is, he was not sent for a Canaanite,
even if her daughter was suffering. At this point in the story, it’s good for us to pause and not attempt to explain away this type of attitude. In fact, other times in the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus says that he was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. In this gospel, the message of Jesus goes out to all nations only after the resurrection (Matt 28:16-20). But during the earthly ministry of Jesus, it seems non-Israelites, non-Jews, were not part of his mission. Even so, the woman persists. She does not back away. Jesus replies, effectively reiterating what he had said initially, though using a rather insulting term: “dogs.” No matter, the woman continues, accepts the insulting metaphor, and says even dogs get the scraps. Finally, Jesus relents, and with a word the woman’s daughter is healed. Many commentators focus their attention on Jesus’ words and actions in this scene. But we may also consider this from the point of view of the woman – the outsider, the excluded. She persists and she ultimately receives what she sought, not something for herself but for her daughter. Today, we are living in the post-resurrection world. Therefore, when we are in a position to include, to welcome, to invite, let us do so. This might mean welcoming a new child on the playground, an outsider who has moved to the neighborhood, or even a non-citizen or one who does not share our ethnic identity. The inclination to exclude and not to help is strong. It’s overcome in the resurrection.” (Living Liturgy 2020)
Just a continuing reminder to be aware of the special procedures we have in place during the present COVID-19 conditions. Remember to sanitize your hands and put on your mask upon entering the church building. Masks should be kept on, covering the nose, mouth, and chin, for the entirety of the time you are in the building, except for when you are about to receive Communion. Please follow the directions of our ushers as they seat you and remain in the seat you have been given. Your cooperation with these safety measures is greatly appreciated and helps to make the celebration of Mass more relaxed and smooth for all those attending.
Since our numbers at the 9:00AM Sunday Mass are increasing to the point where we are nearly at the full 30% capacity we are currently permitted, I would like to invite some of our parishioners to consider attending the 5:30PM Saturday evening Mass instead if they are able. Thank you for your understanding in this matter.
And finally, I just discovered that my weekly emails that I sent to our parishioners with Cogeco accounts get rejected as spam messages. For those of you who are affected by this, if you would like to provide me with an alternative email address so that you can continue to receive the weekly updates, please feel free to do so.
As usual, the 9:00am Sunday Mass will be livestreamed, beginning with the Rosary at 8:30am. To access the livestream please click on the picture below.