Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time • Year A

Anthony P. Burrascano, O.S.A.
Saint Augustine Preparatory School
Richland, New Jersey

Is 56:1, 6-7
Ps 67:2-3, 5, 6, 8
Rom 11:13-15, 29-32
Mt 15:21-28

There are many types of Gospels. The type that people really love are the miracle stories. where someone comes out with a better life and everyone is happy. The beauty of the miracle is that, yes, someone may be cured or even raised from the dead, but what is so beautiful is that it is a story of Jesus touching a person in their needs, their hurts, in their lives. Once Jesus touches that person, their life is changed forever; it is never the same.

Look at the Gospel today which has a beautiful miracle story in it. The woman is devastated because her daughter is possessed by a demon. She sees Jesus and goes up to him and seeks to get his attention. At first Jesus does not respond. The disciples are annoyed that she keeps pestering Jesus and tells him to send her away. He does not. The woman persists in her pleading with Jesus. Jesus hears her and says, “O women, great is your faith! Let it be done as you wish.” The child is cured, the demons are driven out. What the woman has asked has come to pass. A beautiful miracle story. We see that Jesus has reached out to the girl and once he did her life was never the same. Everyone can move on very happy that the life of the girl has changed for the better.

I think there is another type of miracle here. Jesus acknowledges the great faith of the mother, but there is something else which is very important to be aware of in this story.

When the woman seeks Jesus out and approaches him to ask him to cure his daughter she obviously is aware and confident that Jesus can do so. She acknowledges who he is and what power he possesses. She has faith that he can cure the girl. But just as important I think is the mindset of the woman that not only can Jesus cure her daughter, but that he would cure the girl. He has the power to cure, but her faith is that he would cure the girl.

It is not enough to have the ability to do something. It is equally important that someone will do something.

The woman teaches us an important lesson. Do we believe that God is aware of us? Do we believe that God is part of our lives? Do we believe that God takes care of us, answers our prayers, and can change our lives? If we can say “Yes,” then that is good.

But we have to go one step further, as the woman did. Do we believe that God will help us in those times of our lives when we need help? Do we believe that God loves us enough to be involved in our lives? God may not wave a magic wand over our problems and change them, but God will be there to hold us up and give us the strength we need to get through the difficulties of life. He can help us, but the important faith is that God will help us.

Who does not love a good miracle story? The Gospel is full of them. They are beautiful stories of the power of God in people’s lives, but so importantly they are powerful stories of the willingness of God to help us. God can help us; God will help us.