20th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A - 17/8/2014 - Gospel: Mt 15: 21-28
No discrimination
The blessed Israel considered those who worship pagan's gods as their enemies and they would distance themselves from them. The Canaanite woman's story opens the eyes of the blessed Israelites to know that they are the privilege race but God's love and grace are not strictly for them only but it is available for others as well. Those who ask for it will receive without limitation. Today's gospel has demonstrated God's love for all. This remarkable woman becomes the public image of faith in Jesus. The dialogues between Jesus and her gave the impression that Jesus was not willing to answer her request to heal her sick daughter but she didn't give up easily. She kept pleading and Jesus took time to grant her request. He seemed to put stumbling blocks for her to overcome and the woman had made the leapt of faith in Jesus. By recognizing 'Jesus, son of David' she recalled the patriarch as her ancestors and Jesus is the descendant from David who is her king and the children of the kingdom have the right of protection from their king.

Her persistence made Jesus gave her what she asked for. Persistence annoyed the disciples of Jesus but for Jesus it was the sign of having faith in Him. Jesus would be the starting point of the healing process of the rift between the blessed Israelites and the pagans that was about to take place. The Canaanite woman believed that Jesus alone has the power to grant her request and she maintained that faith. The blessed Israelites could see her people as the outsiders but she believed that in God's eye they are members of the same God's family, of the same Master. The Israelites believe they were the chosen children and yet they refused to acknowledge Jesus as their Messiah; the gentiles on the contrary acknowledged Jesus as their Lord and begged Jesus to save them.

The woman probably had heard that Jesus feed the five thousand from five loaves and two fish and no one knew how many of the gentiles who were in the crowd would be fed by Jesus. This encourages the woman to ask for healing of her daughter even more. She believes Jesus is the promised Messiah who comes from the line of David and she has the right to call for mercy. This is the second time disciples asked Jesus to send people away. The first time Jesus sent no one away but fed them with five loaves and two fish. This time Jesus welcomed the Canaanite woman into God's family. This confirms that His mission is unlimited and is equal for all who recognize Him as their Lord.

Separation, privileges and discrimination happen everywhere but it is at its worse when it happens within a family or race. Discrimination based on religion remains in our world. It is happening to our Christian brothers and sisters in Iraq whose are discriminated and persecuted because of their faith in Christ. Their Churches have been destroyed and images of holy pictures and status have been defamed. Children and women have shed their blood as witnesses to their faith. Their houses burnt down and schools have been demolished and these people are dislocated into the barren sand. How could believers, call on God's name, to persecute others. Crime against humanity arises when a person or a group of people make claim that they are righteous. Jesus would respond no one is righteous before God but God alone is holy and good Mat 19,16.

Jesus welcomes the pagan woman into God's family this confirms that Christ comes to unite, not divide, gather not separate.