PERSEVERING PRAYER

Aug 19, 2017

An old, familiar saying goes, “If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again.” (Joking aside, this doesn’t apply to committing suicide.) That was just what the Canaanite woman did in this Sunday’s gospel episode. She tried and tried again – in local parlance, TH (Trying Hard). Pestering the Lord to the point of vexation; she begged Him to cure her possessed daughter. Jesus tried to ignore her, then rebuffed her, finally insulted her by insinuating she was a housedog. “It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the housedogs” (Mt 15:16). She was undaunted. Instead, she turned the table around by countering with a smart repartee which stunned Jesus, “Ah yes, sir, but even housedogs can eat the scraps that fall from their master’s table.” Jesus, who must have been amused by the woman’s reply, could only exclaim, “Woman, great is your faith. Let your wish be granted.”

This poignant episode may well apply to our faith-relationship with God which suggests that sometimes our prayers seem to fall on deaf ears. We should remember however, that prayer begins with the risk of asking or entrusting ourselves to silence, uncertainty and even rebuff. Hence, the wise saying: “Man proposes, God disposes.” But we should not get discouraged. We are asked to be “cheeky” with God; as in the example of that Canaanite woman, our perseverance will be rewarded.

The other message from the episode of the Canaanite woman is that God does not discriminate against anyone. He welcomes all who believe in Him and do his will. It is noteworthy that the story of the Canaanite woman was preached in the early Church to correct the attitude of exclusiveness. She was non-Jewish. For the Jews who were ultra-nationalistic, helping or doing a favor for an outsider was considered a grave offense. It would, therefore, be unchristian if we refuse to welcome into our organization people of low economic or social status or discriminate against them because they are not well-dressed.

When I was a kid, I was told to play only with peers of our own social standing and only with those who are clean. We were advised not to associate with this or that family. I later learned that the reason was because they were poor and have no time to take a bath. It is difficult, indeed, to get rid of our prejudices. Christ teaches us today, among others, that we shouldn’t discriminate against anyone by reason of race, color, religion, economic or social status. Amen!

#5 A JOKE FROM ST. JOE: A preacher was celebrating his Golden Jubilee to his ministry. Studying himself in the mirror, he thought of how he could improve himself to look younger when he preached to his church, the following Sunday. That week he decided to go to the Extreme Makeover Shop. He had his face made up to look younger. His wrinkles were smoothed, his beard and mustache were dyed black. As a finishing touch he bought an expensive wig. His look totally changed. That Sunday, while walking across the street to his church, he was hit by a car. He was thrown to the ground and in the midst of his pain he looked up to heaven and groaned: “Lord, after serving you for 50 years, how can you do this to me?” From up there, the Lord answered, “Sorry, I didn’t recognize you.”

During this week, three important feast days are considered namely; the memorial of St. Pius X on the 21st, next the memorial of the Queenship of the BVM on the 22nd, and the feast of St. Bartholomew, Apostle and Martyr on the 24th. He is known as Nathaniel in John’s Gospel. This is all for now, watch for the next bulletin. God Bless!

Your Priest-Servant and Parochial Administrator,

Fr. Reggie