Jesus the Teacher: Homily for Sunday, August 20, 2017

To listen to the entire homily, click here.

Readings for Today

Today can be one of those Sundays when the readings are not easy to figure out.  Jesus says some things in today’s gospel that seem to display prejudice.  But let’s be clear.  That cannot be true.  Prejudice is sinful.  Jesus cannot sin.  While he is fully human, he is also fully divine.  It cannot be the case that Jesus can sin.  Period. So what is going on here in the gospel?

Keep in mind that we cannot see facial expressions.  We cannot sense tone.  It is not clear what the setting is.  But what is clear is that Jesus is a teacher.  And rather than Jesus learning, it is Jesus teaching.  He is in a non-Jewish area of Israel.  He knows the mission is to everyone.  But it is not clear the disciples do.  And it is not clear the disciples understand the connection between miracles and faith.  It is faith that heals the woman’s daughter. And by the way Jesus handles this woman, and his disciples, we come to know his mission is universal.

Homily for Sunday, August 17, 2014

Readings for Today

How do you feel about the foreigner or the stranger?  When you hear about immigrants, illegal or otherwise, coming across the border, what is your first reaction?  Do you welcome them?  Do you try to learn more about the situation from which they come?  Do you lump them all together as if they were all exactly the same?  Do we find ourselves angry that countries are not accepting those Christians in Iraq who are being persecuted?  Do we believe there is no need to help other countries because there are enough poor right here?

Today’s readings ask us to examine our attitudes toward the foreigner.  In the early Church, the role of the foreigner was so difficult it almost tore the Church apart.  Should those who follow Jesus be required to become Jewish, following Jewish law?  In other words, the gentiles, the nations, what should they be made to do in order to be baptized?

Today’s gospel is a learning experience for the apostles.  The parameters of Jesus’ mission are wider than they thought.  It was not just to the Jews they were called to go, but to the world.  The invitation to faith is not for a select few, but to all willing to open their hearts to Jesus.  The Canaanite woman, who undoubtedly heard about the works and miracles of Jesus, who may even have heard him speak, calls out after Jesus.  This action itself would have been problematic for a devout Jew, for interacting with her made one unclean.

Continue reading