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Wednesday, August 5, 2009

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Dedication of St. Mary Major

Numbers 13:1-2, 25—14:1, 26-29, 34-35
Psalm 106:6-7, 13-14, 21-23
Matthew 15:21-28

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"seldom is heard a discouraging word"?

"She keeps shouting." —Matthew 15:23

Contrast the Israelite scouts and Israelite people in the first reading to the Syro-Phoenician Gentile woman in the Gospel. The former did not believe in God's liberating power, even though they had just seen what God did to the Egyptians at the Red Sea, even though they had just passed between walls of water at the Red Sea! "They forgot the God Who had saved them" (Ps 106:21). "They waited not for His counsel" (Ps 106:13). They did not remember His great love, which is tantamount to defying God (Ps 106:7).

The Syro-Phoenician woman, in contrast, heard only what must have seemed like discouraging words from Jesus rather than great promises. She believed in Jesus anyway, because she had heard of His great works (Jn 14:11). Like the man born blind, she must have intuitively known that no one could do such healing works if God was not with Him (Jn 9:33). She knew that what Jesus was saying had to be outweighed by His power, and that His compassion was evident in His works. So she persevered in imploring Jesus for her request, believing in Jesus' ultimate power, refusing to be discouraged by what she saw and heard in the present moment.

To whom do you listen? We hear many negative, discouraging voices. We must shut out these voices and make it our priority to listen only to God. Yet, even when what the Lord says seems discouraging, we must pray without ceasing and not lose heart (Lk 18:1). "Do not give in to discouragement" (2 Cor 4:1).

The Lord is looking for faith (Lk 18:8). Will He find faith in You? Have faith in Jesus (Jn 14:1). Have faith in God (Jn 14:1).

Prayer:  Lord, help me (Mt 15:25). "I do believe; help my lack of faith" (see Mk 9:24).

Promise:  "Thus you will realize what it means to oppose Me." —Nm 14:34

Praise:  Mary, Mother of Mercy, instructed all disciples: "Do whatever He [Jesus] tells you" (Jn 2:5).

Reference:  (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)

Rescript:  †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, February 11, 2009

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