Only God can achieve what is humanly impossible
By REV. FR. SAMUEL FREDERICK
Jer. 31:1-7, Mt. 15:21-28. Today's first reading presents us with the message of hope. God put Israel through the paces of a strengthening process and developed the “desert spirituality,” so beautifully expressed by Jeremiah: “I remember the devotion of your youth, how you loved me as a bride, following me in the desert, in a land unsown. Sacred to the Lord was Israel, the first fruits of his harvest” (Jer. 2:2-3). These lines were composed by the young Jeremiah, about the time that he wrote the “Book of Consolation,” (30-31). The final phrase “virgin Israel” continues the nuptial theme, introduced into Biblical tradition by the prophet Hosea. Applied to the exiled northern tribes as a young woman gloriously happy at the moment of her marriage, but it also envisaged the miraculous transformation of the sinful adulterous woman Israel in her sins, into the “virgin daughter.” So, hopeful was Jeremiah that he saw God achieving what is humanly impossible.
In today's Gospel, Jesus also reaffirmed His love for us regardless of our backgrounds and origins, in the healing of the Syro-Phoenician woman's daughter. With His interactions with the woman, Jesus shows us that God’s love is universal and those who have faith in Him will receive the fullness of His love and grace. At first Jesus would not even answer the Canaanite woman, when His disciples came up and begged Him to get rid of her. Then His first words to her sound very blunt: “My mission is only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” The initial response of Jesus to her desperate cry for help was dead silence. When the woman persisted with her request and Jesus answered, He seemed to harshly dismiss her request. As the woman was not put off by Jesus’ silence, she is not put off by His first gruff response. She took up His image of feeding the children rather than the house-dogs, the people of Israel rather than the pagans and turns it to her own advantage. Eventually the Lord rewarded her persistent faith and granted her request. This woman’s faith certainly moved Jesus. The faith of this pagan woman encourages us to remain faithful, even when the grounds for faithfulness seem to be very weak. She inspires us to keep seeking the Lord, even when the Lord appears to be silent and distant from us.
May the Lord strengthen us to live our lives more worthily of Him, filled with virtue and righteousness, at all times! Amen!! Good morning and have a glorious day!!!