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20th Sunday in Ordinary Time 2008

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Fr.Paul Weinberger

Joined: 06 May 2005
Posts: 199
Location: Greenville, Texas

PostPosted: Sat Aug 23, 2008 9:12 am    Post subject: 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time 2008 Reply with quote

20th Sunday in Ordinary Time 2008

Homily by:
Father Paul Weinberger, Pastor
St. William the Confessor Catholic Church
Greenville, Texas
August 17, 2008

The woman said to Jesus, “Have pity on me Lord, Son of David, my daughter is tormented by a demon.” But Jesus did not say a word in answer to her.

In the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit


This woman has great faith. I have been a priest nineteen years and have served in a lot of parishes. Several years ago, far away from here, a woman came to see me. I’d never seen her before and I haven’t seen her since. She was like this woman in so many ways but she had lost her faith. She was very angry with God. Like this woman, she was actually screaming and crying out in pain. She’d just lost her only child, a daughter of 15 years. We can sympathize and our hearts are full of compassion for someone in such an instance.

As I sat there listen to this spill out of the woman I began to ask her a few questions. I asked her about herself and if she had any other children. She admitted that God had sent her five children and each one had been aborted. I did the best I could to help her realize that God had prepared her for the shock of this moment by sending her five other children, who would be here to console her had she not aborted them. I know it sounds very cruel, but this woman was at the point of cursing God. It was God’s fault. No it wasn’t!

I listened to the EWTN radio station the day before the Assumption and Fr. John Corapi, who has a doctorate in Sacred Theology, was speaking. You have heard him speak. He was talking about abortion as a demonic act. The woman in the Gospel is saying that her daughter is tormented by a demon and in no way can we say that abortion is from God. However, about ten years ago I heard Whoopi Goldberg scream into a microphone at a rally, that not only was abortion good but it was from God and that He wanted it to be used. So, we have no idea what children today hear about abortion. We presume that nobody would ever say that but she said it with every fiber of her body, screaming into the microphone at a crowd that was going crazy in agreement. This is not demonic?

The woman in the Gospel today is so concerned about her daughter that she has gone out of her area of comfort. She is a Canaanite woman and we remember that they were the people dispossessed from the land. They were moved off the land that Israel occupied. The Canaanites didn’t want anything to do with the Jews and vise versa. The language that is used here, the image of a dog…perhaps you have been walking along the street minding your own business when some dog the size of a pony runs up to the fence and as it is running it is barking and barking. That is when you need to call 911. It could give you a heart attack. That is how this woman is in the Gospel today. She is straining every muscle and every fiber is strained to get the attention of Jesus. She is walking toward Him as she screams for mercy for her daughter. This has to be repugnant to her because she is a Canaanite and He is a Jew.

When you go home today look up the Gospel just before this one and you will see that Jesus has been speaking with the Pharisees, who will not give Jesus the time of day. They are the experts of the law and they will have nothing to do with Jesus even though they are of the same race and are Jews as Jesus is, if you will. The Pharisees will have nothing to do with Jesus but here is a Canaanite woman, a foreigner and she is running toward Jesus. She is leaving her homeland to seek Jesus as Jesus leaves His homeland to seek her out.

By the time this woman hears that Jesus is in the area and turns to walk toward Him, Jesus is already walking toward her, the way God in His grace helps us to grow in our faith. This woman is like the sea in last Sunday’s Gospel, when St. Peter began to walk on the water. Jesus calmed the wind and the sea and in the span of this short Gospel this woman is drawn to silence. She is probably screaming inside. Jesus does something here that appears to be cruel; He did not say a word in answer to her.

Many times over the years I have heard people say that they pray to God but He doesn’t listen or doesn’t seem to be. There are two options; you can pray to God or pray to the “other team”. There is no third option. I mean, you can go out and hug a tree or pray to a mountain but it is still option number two, ok? You can pray to God or pray to the other team and I don’t consider number two an option.

So, Christ treats this woman in this way for a reason. God has His reasons.

August 15th is the anniversary of VJ Day, Victory in Japan. Many people say that it is August 14th. They forget the international dateline. But it was August 15th in Japan when for the first time in the history of Japan the Emperor got on the radio and announced total and unconditional surrender of Japan to us, to the allies. It was amazing; it was the feast of the Assumption.

In “A Song for Nagasaki” or “The Bells of Nagasaki”, Dr. Nagai makes mention that as a young man he’d converted from being a pagan to being a Catholic Christian. Later he married. His wife could trace her ancestry all the way back to August 15, 1549, the day that St. Francis Xavier brought Christianity to that last island in the chain of islands that make up Japan.

On August 15, 1945, there was the answer to a prayer. Dr. Nagai, who was the Dean of the radiology department at the University of Nagasaki was not a man given to sentimentality. Being a scientist he looked at things straight on with no agenda. He remarks about how the people of Nagasaki, himself included, would take turns, keeping someone constantly at the Cathedral praying for an end to the war and that peace would be restored to the world and to Japan. They were praying around the clock for many years for this intention.

On August 9, 1945 when the first target was clouded over and the bomb was dropped just above the Cathedral of Nagasaki, which is named for Our Lady’s Assumption, he saw it as an answer to a prayer, that there had been a long silence. Many people in this country had been praying for an end to the war but it seemed as if God had not been listening. It is so easy to appear able to read God’s mind when we haven’t a clue. This silence needs to be considered because of the temptation to say that God isn’t listening or that He doesn’t care about us.

This is from one commentator speaking briefly on this sacred text, this Gospel.

By definition, the Sacred Text cannot elaborate on this moment in which the creature feels rejected by her creator. Along with the woman we can simply listen to the silence, certainly with impatience yet not without reverence. Silence has an authority all it’s own and especially when divinely appointed, and we must allow it its rights even when it frustrates our own expectations. We must allow silence to wash over us and enfold us. God’s self-manifestation in emptiness can go on indefinitely until God chooses to create something within it better than emptiness. But we must be convinced that our many words are never better than God’s silent emptiness in us. We must not be panic-stricken; we must not begin at once to fill the silence with our own noise. God’s silence in us is one of the choicest works of His grace.

What is Jesus doing here with the woman in the Gospel? He is allowing her faith to grow. Think of a flat tire you are airing up. You have to wait until the air fills the tire and lifts the vehicle. Jesus is allowing the silence for His reason and He knows best. Just with what we have experienced in prayer we tend to think we are experts in prayer and when we don’t get something from God we pretend that it is broken. It is like going to a Coke machine to buy a Coke and there is someone there that just put money in but the Coke isn’t coming out so the person…it is a man…begins to bang on the machine and start tilting it and maybe curse. I don’t know how that will help. So you are thinking that maybe you should just get a drink of water. How many people in prayer do the same thing?

I don’t pray anymore; God never answers my prayers.

It must be very difficult living with you!

Many times in Confession a child will tell me that it has been a month since his/her last confession and have only one sin. It is a miracle…another saint in our midst. It is the fault of the parents if they don’t prepare their children for Confession. If you don’t prepare them they come in with the one sin theory. Sometimes I ask them if they pray everyday and they say, “Yes.” And then I ask again if they pray EVERYDAY and they say, “Well, not everyday.” What is this, cross-examination? Again, children probably just have their noses in the TV listening to these lawyer shows and then they become little lawyers in the Confessional. So, “Do you pray every day?” becomes an exchange of two or three back and forth.

Parents have to be very patient praying with their children and teaching children about God and how He has His ways. He is always listening to us. Even if there is a time between our prayer and whatever happens, blessed be God! It is like your wedding vows, which say “In good times and in bad, in sickness and in health.” When my prayer is answered…blessed be God! When my prayer is not answered…blessed be God! It’s not, “It is broken, and God is not there.” All of those are temptations against faith and we see how willing and ready God is to increase our faith.

This woman has done more than the Pharisees ever would do with Jesus. She is making a spectacle of herself; everyone knows she is a Canaanite. But she is making a spectacle of herself because of her daughter and her condition. She falls down at His feet and pays Him homage in public. Jesus remarks about her faith.

Woman great is your faith; let it be done for you as you wish.

These comments, which could be considered insulting to the woman, are not insults but they are testing her faith.

“I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” But the woman came and did Jesus homage, saying, “Lord, help me.” He said in reply, “It is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs.”

This woman was not deterred; she is a mother and she is storming Heaven with prayers for her daughter.

The woman said to Jesus, “Have pity on me Lord, Son of David, my daughter is tormented by a demon.” But Jesus did not say a word in answer to her.

In the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit

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