Theme: JESUS SAVES NOT ONLY THE JEWS BUT ALSO THE PAGANS
- Isaiah 56:1. 6-7;
- Psalm 66:2-3. 5-6. 8. R/ v.4;
- Romans 11:13-15. 29-32
- Matthew 15:21-28
Today is the 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year A. The gospel today tells us that Jesus does not only save the Jews, but he also saves the non-Jews, the pagans, the gentiles! He saves not only the good and holy people, but he also saves the bad and evil people! He saves all peoples! He is the Savior of the whole world! He is the only Savior of the world!
The gospel today tells us that Jesus delivered the daughter of the Canaanite woman from the torment of the devil! More importantly, the gospel tells us that Jesus saved the daughter of the Canaanite woman from the devil, because of the Canaanite woman’s “great faith”! She is the only one in the whole gospel of Matthew to have “great faith”! (NJBC)
Indeed, the pagans are saved because of their faith in Jesus, but the Jews are not saved because they do not believe in Jesus!
The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. Again, the first reading tells us that the Jews will be saved if they “believe in the Lord and keep his commandments” (CSB), that is, if they love and serve God and neighbor, but again, they will not be saved if they do not believe in God and do not keep his commandments, that is, if they do not love and serve God and do not love and serve their neighbor. Thus we read:
“Thus says the Lord: Have a care for justice, act with integrity, for soon my salvation will come and my integrity be manifest.” (Is 56:1; SM)
But more importantly, the first reading tells us that the pagans, the foreigners, will be saved because they “believe in the Lord and keep his commandments”, that is, they love and serve God! Thus we read:
“Foreigners who have attached themselves to the Lord to serve him and to love his name and be his servants – these I will bring to my holy mountain.” (Is 56:6a. 7a; SM)
The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm is a prayer to God asking God to bless us so that seeing the blessings of God upon us; all the nations will come to praise and worship our God! (CSB) Thus we responded three times:
“Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you.” (Ps 66:4; SM)
The responsorial psalm has three stanzas. The first stanza asks God to bless us so that seeing the blessings of God upon us; all the nations will praise and worship our God! The second stanza asks all the nations to praise God who rules the world with justice! And the third stanza asks God to continue to bless us until all the nations of the earth praise and worship him! (HCSB)
The second reading tells us that not only the pagans who believe in Jesus will be saved, but even the Jews who rejected him and crucified him will also be saved! They will be saved by the mercy of God! The word “mercy” is mentioned four times in the second paragraph of the second reading! Thus we read:
“Just as you changed from being disobedient to God, and now enjoy mercy because of their disobedience, so those who are disobedient now – and only because of the mercy shown to you – will also enjoy mercy eventually. God has imprisoned all men in their own disobedience only to show mercy to all mankind.” (Rm 11:30-32; SM)
Again, we are saved not by a God of law, justice, punishment and damnation; but we are saved by a God of love, mercy, forgiveness and salvation!
The Gospel Acclamation today tells us that “Jesus proclaimed the Good News”! (Mt 4:23; SM) The Gospel Acclamation today also tells us to proclaim the Good News! We proclaim the Good News by our words, actions and lifestyles! Today we can proclaim the Good News through the internet, the website, the email, the facebook, etc. We can proclaim the Good News by our love and service, by our good works, by our social works, e.g. our “Migrant School”, our “Society of Saint Vincent de Paul” which help the poor and the needy! We can also proclaim the Good News by our “BECs” (Basic Ecclesial Communities). Our “BECs” are communities of love and unity and are signs and sacraments of salvation for the whole world! We can also proclaim the Good News inside the Church and within the Church through the Sunday Mass, the Life in the Spirit Seminars, the Alpha Course, the Neo-Catechumenal Communities, the BECs, the Bible-Sharing Groups, etc.! Today, we thank God for the gift of salvation and we ask God to help us proclaim the Good News so that all may believe and be saved! Amen!
Parish Priest of St Mary, Tawau, Sabah East Malaysia.