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Sunday Homily (Full Text)

Sunday Homily

22

Gospel             Matthew 15:21-28

At that time, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 

And behold, a Canaanite woman of that district came and called out, 

“Have pity on me, Lord, Son of David! My daughter is tormented by a demon.” 

But Jesus did not say a word in answer to her. 

Jesus’ disciples came and asked him, “Send her away, for she keeps calling out after us.”

He said in reply, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”

But the woman came and did Jesus homage, saying, “Lord, help me.”

He said in reply, “It is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs.”

She said, “Please, Lord, for even the dogs eat the scraps that fall from

the table of their masters.”

Then Jesus said to her in reply,

“O woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.”

And the woman’s daughter was healed from that hour.

 

Homily

 

I probably should have some of the parents come up here and give the homily on persistence.  You know quite well from your kids what persistence is,  “I want this.  I want it.” 

           

“You can’t have it.”

 

“I want it.”

 

“But I told you, you can’t have it.”

 

How often does that go on in homes across the country?  That is until they go to grandma and grandpa’s house and grandma and grandpa ask, “What would you like to have? We’ll take you there.”

 

You watch children and if grandma and grandpa are babysitting, everything is just fine.

And when mom and dad come to pick up their kids they say, “I don’t want to go.”  Wow.  What happened here? We should have a film — the before and after.  And yet we all went through that.  It goes from one generation to the next.

 

Jesus is saying to us,  “You need to be persistent with me.  I love you, I’ll give you whatever you need, but you need to keep asking.”  Then Jesus says, “But when I do give you what you need — remember to give thanks.” 

 

It doesn’t just mean saying,  “Thanks, God.”  It means, “If I can’t hear and God gives me back my hearing, then I need to hear the cry of the poor.  If my eyesight is poor and now it’s 20-20 vision, God gives me the ability to see the cry of the poor and those who are hurting in some way. And it might be somebody right at home, or it might be someone at a distance.”

 

In today’s Gospel, it is a story about a woman, a Canaanite, and a wife, and you couldn’t get much lower in life than that.  And yet, she had the courage to yell out to Jesus.  Finally, when she got right up to him it all changed when she said, “Lord, just help me.”

 

If you were listening closely his disciples said to him,  “Get rid of this woman.”  He responded like, “I’m going to back you guys up.” But the minute she came to him and cried, “Lord, help me” he turned everything around and said to her, “I’ve never seen faith like this.  Your daughter is OK.  But now tell your daughter she needs to live her life, and she needs to take the good news and give it to the world.”

 

Last night I was watching the news and learning what is going on in other parts of the world.  A rescue helicopter came down and soldiers began hauling people into the helicopter.  One girl was very upset because her dad was left behind and she did not know if he would be able to get on another helicopter.  Just to see the plight in her eyes, and the eyes and faces of these women and children - then you have to say,  “God will intervene. Those who are causing this — will have to pay the price.”

 

So it is with us.  If you are hungry enough and you say, “I‘ll take the scraps from the table,” then you know you’re pretty hungry.  So this morning we have to ask,  “How well do I listen?  How stubborn am I?”

 

There was a gentleman who was giving a lecture to a group of doctors and he told the story of a woman who was in her eighties and was in a wheelchair.  She went to this doctor and he did a surgery and he told her,  “Now you are well.  Tomorrow I want you to walk ten minutes, the next day twenty minutes, the next day thirty minutes, the next day forty minutes until you are walking one hour.” 

 

The next day this eighty-year old woman got up and walked all over the hospital just like she was nineteen.  She kept this up day after day until she could zip right along and walk one hour.  When the family came to pick her up and take her home, they just could not stop thanking the doctor.  And he said,  “I don’t know what you are thanking me for because this was just a simple surgery I do all the time.”

 

The kids said, “It’s not about the surgery.  Mom hasn’t gotten out of the wheelchair for six years and you have her walking all over the place.”

 

She wouldn’t listen to her own family. But when the doctor spoke, she listened, and her life was changed.  It’s that persistence, and that trust, that comes into all of our lives.  That is what children are looking for.  Children are looking to find someone they can trust.  The reason children are persistent with parents is because they know they can trust them.  It’s also the reason the children know when they go to the grandparent’s house that they are going to be loved.

 

So Jesus is telling us this morning, “Just remember, I came for the whole world.  I did not pick and choose.  And so I took this woman who was the total outcast and I gave her what she needed.  If I can do that, all of you can be assured that if you are persistent with me and trust in me, everything that you need will be given to you.”

 

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Monsignor Michael Kuse is pastor of Blessed Sacrament Parish in Quincy, Illinois.

 

 

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