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dc.contributor.authorMeeks, Carolyn Comeauxen_US
dc.identifier.otherLectionary number: 409en_US
dc.description.abstractToday is the feast of St. Jean-Baptiste-Marie Vianney (1786-1859), otherwise known as the Cure of Ars. He was a parish priest in a little village who never rose to power in the Church hierarchy. Yet people from across France and even internationally sought him out as a humble and holy man, and as particularly insightful in the personal realm of the confessional. They would ask him to hear of their sinfulness and to proclaim for them the forgiveness of Christ. What an irony for him: When he had been ordained, he had not been allowed to hear confessions at first because he had made such abysmal grades in seminary moral theology classes!||Jean was no great thinker or theologian, but merely a sterling example of a healer of souls, a priest.|God, it seems, is a master of irony.|Today's gospel provokes the same sense of God's irony. Matthew's gospel tells the tale of a Canaanite woman-an outsider-who continually shouts at Jesus to take pity on her, for her daughter is "tormented by a devil." Jesus ignores her, but those who are with him are annoyed at her shouting and ask Jesus to give her what she wants. He answers them with a sort of "mission statement"--"I was sent only to the lost sheep of the House of Israel." The woman has approached and overheard. She kneels at his feet and calls him "Lord," and asks again for help.|Jesus is still focused on who he has come to save and to serve: the Jews. "It is not fair to take the children's food and throw it to the house dogs," he says.|The woman is unfazed by this act of what today we call political incorrectness. She is steadfast, and meets him point for point: "Yes, but even the house dogs eat the scraps that fall from their master's table." In one fell swoop she has acknowledged the Jews' disdain for outsiders such as herself (the "dogs"), and honored Jesus by her allusion to the master of the house. And she has made it clear that she wants him to include her-or more particularly, her daughter-as a beneficiary of his giftedness.|I imagine Jesus went through several changes of sentiment throughout the course of this brief encounter. First perhaps annoyance: This woman has no social skills! Can't she tone it down?? Then strategy: I will ignore her and maybe she will just go away. Then maybe a bit of healthy psychological self-preservation, even in Jesus:|I must simply remember who I'm here for, and tell her No. The gospel says nothing of his internal self-talk, but it does record that this woman influenced Jesus to change his mind.|Was he motivated by her acknowledgement of his special giftedness as "master of the table"? Was he touched by her quick wit, her almost lawyerly extemporaneous speaking skills? Was he moved by her persistence, her fierce mother-love?|Maybe at that crucial moment, Jesus's self-talk was something like:|If I'm not here for this woman, I'm here for nobody. Look at her faith! Look at her trust! Look at her concern for her daughter! Look at her dogged determination to try every last avenue of healing--even to risk humiliation--for her own. This is the kind of love I experience from Abba Father. I will give her what she asks.|Matthew's gospel has Jesus tell her, "O woman, great is your faith. Be it done for you as you desire." So goes the powerful tale of a woman who wouldn't be dismissed easily, even by Jesus.|Back now to the Cure of Ars, our saint of the day. One story from his life shows him in a verbal sparring match with a woman, an outsider, a Protestant in mostly Catholic France. He reportedly asked this peasant woman: "Where was your church before the Reformation?" She, as the Canaanite woman before her, said without skipping a beat: "It was in the hearts of people like you." Perhaps he, like Jesus, recognized a fellow pilgrim who, despite differences of faith or "orthodoxy," was in love with, and oriented by, the fiercely loving God who calls us all.|May this God be in the hearts of people like you and me.en_US
dc.publisherUniversity Ministry, Creighton University.en_US
dc.rightsThese reflections may not be sold or used commercially without permission. Personal or parish use is permitted.en_US
dc.subject.otherSt. Jean-Baptiste-Marie Vianneyen_US
dc.titleReflection for Wednesday, August 4, 1999: 18th week in Ordinary Time.en_US
dc.rights.holderUniversity Ministry, Creighton University.en_US
dc.publisher.locationOmaha, Nebraska, United Statesen_US
dc.program.unitVP for Health Sciencesen_US
dc.program.unitGrants Adminstrationen_US
dc.contributor.cuauthorMeeks, Carolyn Cen_US Timeen_US 18en_US
dc.subject.local1Numbers 13:1-2, 25-14:1, 26a-29a, 34-35en_US
dc.subject.local2Psalms 106:6-7ab, 13-14, 21-22, 23en_US
dc.subject.local4Matthew 15:21-28en_US
dc.title.seriesDaily Reflections (Meditations) on the Scriptures from the Roman Catholic Lectionary.en_US Ien_US

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  • Daily Reflections Archive
    Reflections written by Creighton University faculty, staff, and administrators on the daily mass readings.

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