Liturgy of the Sunday

Deel Op

Twentieth Sunday of Ordinary Time
Memorial of Saint Stephen (†1038), king of Hungary. He was converted to the Gospel and promoted the evangelization of his country.


First Reading

Isaiah 56,1.6-7

Thus says Yahweh: Make fair judgement your concern, act with justice, for soon my salvation will come and my saving justice be manifest. As for foreigners who adhere to Yahweh to serve him, to love Yahweh's name and become his servants, all who observe the Sabbath, not profaning it, and cling to my covenant: these I shall lead to my holy mountain and make them joyful in my house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be accepted on my altar, for my house will be called a house of prayer for all peoples.

Psalmody

Psalm 66

Antiphon

May the face of God shine on us.

O God, be gracious and bless us
and let your face shed its light upon us.

So will your ways be known upon earth
and all nations learn your saving help.

Let the peoples praise you, O God;
let all the peoples praise you.

Let the nations be glad and exult
for you rule the world with justice.

With fairness you rule the peoples,
you guide the nations on earth.

Let the peoples praise you, O God;
let all the peoples praise you.

The earth has yielded its fruit
for God, our God, has blessed us.

May God still give us his blessing
till the ends of the earth revere him.

Let the peoples praise you, O God;
let all the peoples praise you.

Second Reading

Romans 11,13-15.29-32

Let me say then to you gentiles that, as far as I am an apostle to the gentiles, I take pride in this work of service; and I want it to be the means of rousing to envy the people who are my own blood-relations and so of saving some of them. Since their rejection meant the reconciliation of the world, do you know what their re-acceptance will mean? Nothing less than life from the dead! There is no change of mind on God's part about the gifts he has made or of his choice. Just as you were in the past disobedient to God but now you have been shown mercy, through their disobedience; so in the same way they are disobedient now, so that through the mercy shown to you they too will receive mercy. God has imprisoned all human beings in their own disobedience only to show mercy to them all.

Reading of the Gospel

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Yesterday I was buried with Christ,
today I rise with you who are risen.
With you I was crucified;
remember me, Lord, in your kingdom.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Matthew 15,21-28

Jesus left that place and withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. And suddenly out came a Canaanite woman from that district and started shouting, 'Lord, Son of David, take pity on me. My daughter is tormented by a devil.' But he said not a word in answer to her. And his disciples went and pleaded with him, saying, 'Give her what she wants, because she keeps shouting after us.' He said in reply, 'I was sent only to the lost sheep of the House of Israel.' But the woman had come up and was bowing low before him. 'Lord,' she said, 'help me.' He replied, 'It is not fair to take the children's food and throw it to little dogs.' She retorted, 'Ah yes, Lord; but even little dogs eat the scraps that fall from their masters' table.' Then Jesus answered her, 'Woman, you have great faith. Let your desire be granted.' And from that moment her daughter was well again.

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Yesterday I was buried with Christ,
today I rise with you who are risen.
With you I was crucified;
remember me, Lord, in your kingdom.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Homily

Rarely in the Gospels do we see Jesus and the disciples outside of Palestine. Tyre and Sidon were outside of the horizons of a group of Jews like Jesus and his disciples. The unfamiliarity of this reality is expressed in the encounter with the Canaanite woman, a foreigner, who begs for her daughter to be healed. Jesus is quiet at first (the Gospel says that "he did not answer her at all"), and then responds in a way that surprises us, with a refusal: "It is not fair to take the children's food and throw it to the dogs." These words and this attitude surprise us, perhaps because each of us deep down is convinced that we already know the Lord, and we make little effort to get to know him better or to earn his love and friendship. This pagan woman, seemingly far from the Lord, is pushed by her love for her daughter, "tormented by a demon." She dares to resist Jesus and begins to struggle with him. Even though she has never listened to Jesus' teaching, she learns from her need to put into practice the insistence in prayer that Jesus so often recommends to his disciples in the Gospel. "Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you." This woman does not give in; she rebels against evil, she asks. She searches and knocks on the Lord's heart three times: "Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David!", "Lord, help me!", and finally that touching response: "Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters' table." They are words of faith, the synthesis of the prayer taught by Jesus, without heaping up "empty phrases." And these words earn Jesus admiration and a response: "Woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish."
In this gospel, Jesus lets his heart be touched. The suffering of men and women is not foreign him. There is love in his heart, which, when it is true, overcomes distances. So he even admires the "great" faith of this poor woman. Let us imitate her faith by seeking the Lord every day, praying to him with great love and intelligence, interceding for those who are tormented by pain, violence, hatred, or scorn.