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Scripture of the Week

DAILY SCRIPTURES

Reflection on the DAILY SCRIPTURES can be found at the following links:

'Our Daily Meditation' from Madonna Magazine - Jesuit Communications (Australia) 

Commentaries on the Daily Readings from SACREDSPACE (Ireland) 

Readings and Reflections on the day's Scripture (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops) 

Daily Readings and Reflections (Passionist Fathers - USA) 

Commentary on the Gospel Reading for each day of the month (Dominican Fathers - Ireland)  

SUNDAY SCRIPTURES

Reflect on the Sunday Scriptures with:

Sr. Veronica Lawson rsm   SEE BELOW

Fr. John McKinnon click here

Fr. John Thornhill  click here

Sunday, 20 Aug 2017: Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year A

First Reading - Isaiah 56:1.6-7

I will lead the foreigners to my holy mountain.

Thus says the Lord: Have a care for justice, act with integrity, for soon my salvation will come and my integrity be manifest.

Foreigners who have attached themselves to the Lord to serve him and to love his name and be his servants – all who observe the sabbath, not profaning it, and cling to my covenant – these I will bring to my holy mountain. I will make them joyful in my house of prayer. Their holocausts and their sacrifices will be accepted on my altar, for my house will be called a house of prayer for all the peoples.

Responsorial Psalm

Ps 66:2-3 5-6. 8. R. v.4

(R.) O God, let all the nations praise you!

Second Reading - Romans 11:13-15. 29-32

The gifts and call of God are irrevocable.

Let me tell you pagans this: I have been sent to the pagans as their apostle, and I am proud of being sent, but the purpose of it is to make my own people envious of you, and in this way save some of them. Since their rejection meant the reconciliation of the world, do you know what their admission will mean? Nothing less than a resurrection from the dead! God never takes back his gifts or revokes his choice.

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.

Gospel Acclamation

Mt 4:23

Alleluia, alleluia!

Jesus preached the Good News of the kingdom

and healed all who were sick.

Alleluia!

Gospel -  Matthew 15:21-28

Woman, you have great faith.

Jesus left Gennesaret and withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. Then out came a Canaanite woman from that district and started shouting, ‘Sir, Son of David, take pity on me. My daughter is tormented by a devil.’ But he answered her not a word. And his disciples went and pleaded with him. ‘Give her what she wants,’ they said ‘because she is 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 kneeling at his feet. ‘Lord,’ she said ‘help me.’ He replied, ‘It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the house-dogs.’ She retorted, ‘Ah yes, sir; but even house-dogs can eat the scraps that fall from their master’s table.’ Then Jesus answered her, ‘Woman, you have great faith. Let your wish be granted.’ And from that moment her daughter was well again.

Gospel Reflection:

The gospels are written in Greek and much of the language of the gospels has to be understood against a Greek philosophical background. Today’s gospel story culminates in the healing of a “daughter” who may be a little girl or even a young woman. Her mother, the main character in the story, is known to Matthew’s community simply as a Canaanite woman, or in other words an indigenous woman. To some early Christian communities, she is Justa, so we might reasonably call her daughter Justina.

Justa comes to Jesus as he moves from Jewish territory into or close to non-Jewish territory. In the language of liturgy, she laments loudly and persistently for her daughter, for Justina is “severely tormented by a demon”. For the ancient Greeks, the antithesis of demonic possession or torment is human flourishing or well-being (eudaimonia). Eudaimonia means having a good guardian spirit as opposed to a malevolent spirit that impairs a person’s well-being and sense of self. Justina’s well-being is in jeopardy. Her distraught mother is an outsider to the “house of Israel” who is nonetheless familiar with Israel’s prayer of lament. She is a woman alone in public space, risking ridicule and rejection to find healing for her daughter.

The immediate response to her plea is silence: Jesus “does not answer her a word”. Is he ignoring her cry for help? Is he simply stunned, taken aback at the vehemence of her request? Is he rendered speechless by the simple fact that she would cross the boundaries of gender and ethnicity in this way? Is he in awe at her courage and faith from the outset? All we know is that he says nothing and that the disciples tell him to send her away. He responds by defining the limits of his mission rather narrowly: he was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Justa is not deterred from her mission. She begs Jesus to help her and receives an explicit refusal in a confronting image that names his people as “the children” and hers as “the dogs”. She accepts his statement as a challenge and bests him in the exchange: “even the dogs eat the crumbs….”

Jesus’ horizons are expanded by the persistence and insight of this woman. Justa’s great faith is affirmed and her daughter is healed. Justa is vindicated and Justina restored to a state of well-being or eudaimonia. Justina has her counterparts across the globe. The challenge for us is to be Justa in our times for the sake of all in the Earth community, human and other-than-human, whose well-being or eudaimonia is impaired by violence or war or lack of access to the means to flourish. 

   Sr Veronica Lawson rsm

© The scriptural quotations are taken from the Jerusalem Bible, published and copyright 1966, 1967 and 1968 by Darton Longman and Todd Ltd and Doubleday & Co Inc, and used by permission of the publishers. The English translation of the Psalm Responses, the Alleluia and Gospel Verses, and the Lenten Gospel Acclamations, and the Titles, Summaries, and Conclusion of the Readings, from the Lectionary for Mass © 1997, 1981, 1968, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved.

 

 

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