Gospel Reflection Aug 20 – Deacon Stephen

Sunday, August 20

Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Matthew 15: 21-28


At that time, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon.

And behold, a Canaanite woman of that district came and called out,

“Have pity on me, Lord, Son of David!

My daughter is tormented by a demon.”

But Jesus did not say a word in answer to her.

Jesus’ disciples came and asked him,

“Send her away, for she keeps calling out after us.”

He said in reply,

“I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”

But the woman came and did Jesus homage, saying, “Lord, help me.”

He said in reply,

“It is not right to take the food of the children

and throw it to the dogs.”

She said, “Please, Lord, for even the dogs eat the scraps

that fall from the table of their masters.”

Then Jesus said to her in reply,

“O woman, great is your faith!

Let it be done for you as you wish.”

And the woman’s daughter was healed from that hour.

Gospel Reflection:

In this weekend’s Gospel, a Canaanite woman approaches Jesus seeking help for her daughter. At first glance, Jesus’ initial response might seem harsh, as he implies that his mission is primarily to the Israelites. However, with unwavering persistence, the woman continues to plead for her daughter’s healing. Her humility is equally evident. She will accept anything that Christ has to offer, even the metaphorical crumbs from the table.

There are examples of this Gospel all around us. The parent or grandparent who advocates for their special needs child, showing us that the depth of a caregiver’s love can overcome any obstacle. These individuals embody the Canaanite woman’s tenacity, pushing through barriers to ensure the well-being of their loved ones. Just as the Canaanite woman’s determination moved Jesus, their determination moves us, reminding us of the power of compassion in action.

Likewise, we see echoes of this Gospel in adult children who selflessly care for their aging parents. Their commitment reflects the woman’s unyielding spirit, as they navigate the challenges of caregiving with love and dedication. In healthcare providers, social service workers, volunteers, ministers, and friends who persistently meet the needs of others, we witness the embodiment of Christ’s teachings. Their tireless efforts echo the woman’s unrelenting pleas, emphasizing the significance of extending a helping hand to those in need.

May we approach these tribulations with the same tenacity, even in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds. Let us draw inspiration from the Canaanite woman’s unshakeable faith and the examples of modern-day advocates and caregivers. May we also possess hearts that are both humble and genuine, recognizing that in humility lies the strength to overcome challenges and in genuineness, the ability to touch lives profoundly. Just as the woman’s plea led to her daughter’s healing, may our actions spark positive change and healing in the lives of those we encounter.

Deacon Stephen Petrill