"Faith, God’s gift for all"
Faith is God’s free gift to everyone! Our task is to receive and nurture this gift to flourish in our lives. Faith thus is both a gift and a task. This Sunday’s readings bring us into the many dimensions of faith, but most of all as God’s desire to save humanity, and in particular for each person to experience God’s saving actions in one’s life. This truth indeed challenges our temptation to think that we can save ourselves and the tendency to act like “gods”. Consequently, in our exercise of the seeming unlimited power and freedom, we become destructive to ourselves and others.
In the first reading, the prophet Isaiah (56:1, 67) declares the message of God, “Observe what is right, do what is just; for my salvation is about to come, my justice, about to be revealed.” This exhortation is foremost directed to the Israelites, the chosen people of God who was given the first mission to reveal the face of God in humanity. By their witness, the eyes of the “gentiles” will turn to the One, true God and join the peoples in worship and adoration. “The foreigners who join themselves to the Lord, ministering to him, loving the name of the Lord…I will bring to my holy mountain and make joyful in my house of prayer.” The Word of God, therefore, revealed his universal mission of bringing back to him all the peoples of the world.
This is ultimately what God shared and offered to us in the incarnation of the Only-begotten Son of God, Jesus Christ! In him, through him, and with him, in the depth and greatness of his love, God offers us salvation. He draws us to be part of the Church that worship and adores Him, and in the One who shows the Father’s love and mercy to humanity, Jesus Christ. My brothers and sisters, let us be drawn to the One, who puts on his shoulders and carry in his heart the sins of humanity and brought them to Cross. His love is truly amazing. His love and mercy saves!
We can understand very well why St. Paul in his letter to the Romans in the second reading (Romans 11:13-15, 29-32) was deeply perturbed by the rejection of Jesus by his fellow Jews. While he fully recognised that “God’s gift and his call are irrevocable”, their “disobedience” has also brought mercy to all. Hence, God’s mercy is definitely directed to everyone. It’s his gift offered to us. We can ask for this gift as a form of our prayer. “Lord, be merciful to me a sinner” prays the tax collector (Luke 18:9-13).
We can be awed by the kind of faith the Canaanite woman had in our Gospel reading today (Matthew 15:21-28). Her persistence and humility hit the heart of Jesus. She caught the merciful and compassionate heart of God. Through her deep faith in Jesus, her request was granted. This is the kind of dispositions of the heart that our faith grows. At the end of the day, when we persist to pray and connect with God, and even with seeming silence of God, our hearts and minds never lose sight of Him. We believe that even when our request is not answered as we expect them to be, God works in a very mysterious way for the good of his beloved children. We know that somehow he will show us what he desires for us and the best solution to our perceived trials or challenges or problem. We are then anchored in our trust for God’s providence, his mercy and his love.
(Fr Regie, MSP)