Bulletin 213 - January 20, 2003/February 2, 2003
January 20, 2003/February 2, 2003
Thirty Second Sunday after Pentecost
He (Isidore the Priest) also said, 'When I was younger and remained in my cell I set no limit to prayer; the night was for me as much the time of prayer as the day.
Then Jesus went out from there and departed to the region of Tyre and Sidon. And behold a woman of Canaan came from that region and cried out to Him, saying, "Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! My daughter is severely demon-possessed. But He answered her not a word. And His disciples came to Him, saying, "Send her away for she cries out after us." But He answered and said, "I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." Then she came and worshipped Him, saying, "Lord help me!" But He answered and said, "It is not good to take the children's bread and throw it to the little dogs." And she said, "Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their master's table." Then Jesus answered and said to her, "O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire." And her daughter was healed from that very hour.
The present Gospel reading reveals the great faith of the woman with the demon-possessed daughter. This woman was undaunted in her efforts to have Jesus Christ heal her daughter. She was persistent in the face of initial silence from Jesus Christ.
How many times have we faced silence when we have gone to God in prayer? Do we remain as persistent as this woman? Is our faith anywhere near to the degree of this woman's faith? What can we do to increase our faith...to make it strong?
Periodically, we must examine our relationship with Jesus Christ. We must look within to see if we hold Christ near and dear in our hearts. We must look within to see if we have strayed from a firm commitment to Christ.
The woman in the present Gospel reading was resolute. She had a single purpose in mind. She wanted her daughter healed and she was prepared to pursue the healing with great conviction.
Our Lord Jesus Christ tells us: "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you." (Mt.7:7) ersistence in prayer is beneficial.
We are not to weary in well-doing. St.Paul told the Galatians "Let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart." (Gal.6:9)
Constant prayer is well-doing. It is beneficial to the soul. It is beneficial for those for whom one prays. The Thessalonians received similar encouragement from St.Paul. He told them: "But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary in doing good." (II Thess.3:13).
Goodness is expected from Christians. Doing good is expected from Christians. At times when the road gets rough, when times get rough, when setbacks appear to occur in the face of goodness, we are wise in turning to the Holy Scriptures for direction and understanding.
When seemingly bad things happen, perhaps God has in mind something good to come from it. We must be patient in the face of adversity. We must trust in God and come to God in prayer and with great faith.
Wiseness is found in the words of St.Paul to the Romans when he counselled: "rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer." (Rom.12:12)
Our patience will be tried during events in life. Our vision will not always be clear. Our thinking will not always be so forthright in coming to grips with problems confronting us.
God is at hand to hear our prayer. God is present to sense our inner needs. God is present to guide and help and lead us in the most difficult of circumstances.
Developing inner peace, developing inner trust in God, comes from experience, comes from trusting God little by little. We know we can trust God when we have experienced the goodness of God and have sensed it.
The woman in the present Gospel was in command of her faculties. Her daughter may have been demon-possessed but the mother was coherent enough to know Jesus Christ was the way to solving her daughter's problems.
The words of our Lord are worth repeating and repeating unto they are engrained in our hearts and mind. He said: "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." (Jn.14:6)
This is a time to review our relationship with Jesus Christ. Our relationship with Jesus Christ affects all that we say, think and do. There is always room for us to improve in our relationship with Jesus Christ.
More than "catch phrases" are necessary to turn us to Christ. More than simple practices are necessary to keep us concentrating on our relationship with Jesus Christ.
Constant prayer is hard work. It is worthwhile work. Today is the day to begin anew in Jesus Christ. Today is the day to turn to Christ for growth, for mercy and for healing.