Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

The “house of Israel” is a beautiful title, referring, ultimately, to the children of Jacob, his household. The fruit of Abraham and Sarah, of the promise God gave to them, which began the whole history of salvation, coming into the world through their progeny. The utterly remarkable and unique story of this family’s relation with their God has led to the title: “The Chosen People.”

Part of the uniqueness of this story is the radical honesty which characterizes it. We learn not only of the glories of the people, but also their sins, and those of their rulers. And we hear the prophets begin to challenge the pride a people has: Isaiah teaches that “my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.” And so when the greatest fruit of the promise comes, the Lord Jesus though coming first of all to the house of Israel, also fulfils the prophetic word and breaks through the narrow confines of tribalism to heal the Gentile woman. And Paul lives the dramatic tension of both worlds more than anyone.

We mostly Gentile Catholics ourselves come from various tribes, each tempted to their own chauvinism. But how liberating it is, when someone from outside the tribe shows themselves better, more loving, more caring than one of “our own”!  This is part of the mystery of Christ’s salvation, to break down the barriers, and allow the Holy Spirit to blow freely through all hearts, regardless of pedigree – or lack thereof – inviting all to freely accept the love of God revealed to us in Christ Jesus, Our Lord.

August 17th, 2014