Pastor's Desk: Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted 19th August 2017 in Pastor's Desk

In place of the Pastor’s Desk this week, we include the following extract from Intercom Magazine:

The Deep End - Unexpected encounters

We might wonder why Jesus is so rude and dismissive to the woman in todays’ Gospel who comes and asks for his help. Does he really call the woman ‘a dog’?! Many explanations have been given for Jesus’ words with some suggesting that it was an attempt at a first century joke, that he was just ‘teasing’ (he didn’t really mean it!) or that it was an opportunity to test the woman’s faith. The disciples also clearly want her sent away.

What happens just before this incident is important. Jesus has just left Gennesaret where the Pharisees have continued to be extremely hostile towards him. Jesus’ mission to ‘the lost sheep of the House of Israel’ is not going so well. So, Jesus ‘leaves that place’ and goes somewhere that is unfamiliar. What happens in this unfamiliar place is certainly life giving for the woman and for Jesus also. It might be considered a place of new beginnings as Jesus’ mission is opened up to those who would have been considered ‘unworthy’, such as a woman who is also a foreigner. The food rejected by the religious leaders of the time is ending up in unexpected places. It is here that the kingdom grows.

You have to admire the woman’s persistence. She is a reminder of people we encounter who have great faith and make a deep impression on us.

We might ask ourselves today: when have experiences of rejection in our own lives led to new possibilities? Where are the unfamiliar places that we must go in order to grow, to embrace new life and new experiences?

Jane Mellet

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