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All Are Called
Thursday of the Fifth Week in Ordinary Time
From that place he went off to the district of Tyre. He entered a house and wanted no one to know about it, but he could not escape notice. Soon a woman whose daughter had an unclean spirit heard about him. She came and fell at his feet. The woman was a Greek, a Syrophoenician by birth, and she begged him to drive the demon out of her daughter. He said to her, “Let the children be fed first. For it is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs.” She replied and said to him, “Lord, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s scraps.” Then he said to her, “For saying this, you may go. The demon has gone out of your daughter.” When the woman went home, she found the child lying in bed and the demon gone.
Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, open my eyes to the mystery of your saving love and guide my heart to evangelize for your glory and the salvation of souls.
- The Mystery of God’s Pedagogy: At first glance, Jesus’s refusal is astonishing, but not within the context of God’s pedagogy. In his divine wisdom, God formed a covenant with a select people, setting them apart to testify to the one true God. By them, he would fulfill his universal salvific intention, specifically through his Son, Jesus Christ. Despite the Jew’s privileged mission, faith, not blood, binds people into the Covenant. Ruth, the Moabite, is one example. When her husband died, she left her people to follow her mother-in-law, saying, “Your people will be my people and your God my God” (Ruth 116). This “gentile woman” eventually married into the line of the Covenant people and became the grandmother of David in Jesus’s ancestry. Aware of this truth, how do I look upon people who seem to be outsiders? Do I believe that God wants to find a way into everyone’s heart?
- Focused Mission: Jesus is one with the Father, in being and in his mission. He told the apostles, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matthew 15:24). Nonetheless, from this core people, Jesus called them to go out to everyone. Before ascending to heaven he commissioned the apostles to go first to the Jews and then to the Gentiles (Acts 1:8). Saint Paul understood this commission when he says, “…for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek” (Romans 1:16). Despite this mystery, God never excludes anyone from receiving his grace. The Syrophoenician woman is a testimony of the universal salvation that Jesus offers. In my own mission, I am called to evangelize, while at the same time, to be attentive to “surprises” that come my way.
- Faith-Filled and Humble Supplication: Jesus’s answer does not discourage the woman. Rather, it increases her appeal. Her humble supplication moves him to work the miracle from afar. The Catholic Church is the one, true, holy and apostolic church, offering her children the fullness of faith. But we must also recognize grace at work outside the visible confines of the Church. In our mission, we may be called to re-evangelize those already among the flock of Catholics, or reach outside the Church’s walls to others who share a similar belief in Christ, or go further to the periphery where non-believers dwell. We ask the Lord for a heart that seeks the eternal good of each and every person.
Conversing with Christ: Show me the way of being a disciple in this world, aware that you can step into the lives of all people no matter how open they are. Help me to recognize your grace present in the world and assist you in bringing people to know, love, and follow you.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will be attentive to ways of bringing your good news to others.
For Further Reflection: Bishop Barron on The Religious “Nones”, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tSVlZDnu-Uw.
Jennifer Ristine is a consecrated woman of Regnum Christi who is dedicated to spiritual and faith formation through teaching, conferences, writing, and spiritual direction. While serving in Ancient Magdala she wrote Mary Magdalene: Insights from Ancient Magdala