20A20. Isaiah 56:1, 6-7. “The foreigners who join themselves to the Lord, ministering to him, loving the name of the Lord, and becoming his servants,” “them I will bring to my mountain and make joyful in my house of prayer.” “For my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.” I assume that what Isaiah meant was that God was inviting all peoples to become Jews when he says for all who “hold to my covenant” that the Lord made to the original Israelites. Nevertheless, now all peoples are invited to become God’s Chosen People. Today’s Ps. 67 says: “May all the peoples praise you” and “may all the ends of the earth fear him.” I understand the word ‘fear’ here means that all people should respect God as the God over us all and as the infinite God who created us to love as he loves.
Matthew 15:21-28. This passage often scandalizes people. The point of the Church’s including this scripture is that the invitation to salvation is extended to all peoples. However, it raises two other concerns. First, when the Canaanite woman for her daughter’s sake pleads to Jesus, “Lord, help me,” Jesus answers: “It is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs.” Immediately because of her faith, Jesus acquiesces to her request. In Matthew 10:5a-6 Jesus said to the twelve disciples, “Do not go into pagan territory or enter a Samaritan town. Go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Jesus as the Messiah of the Jews saw his calling to be only to the Jews. Jesus was raised Jewish. The Jews saw themselves as people separated from all others, singled out to be the only People chosen by God. Jesus reflects his childhood upbringing in his initial answer to the Canaanite woman. Secondly, in his humanity Jesus grew and matured as any other human being does. Luke 2:52 says: “and Jesus advanced [in] wisdom and age and favor before God and man.” Hebrews 5:8 says, “Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered; and when he was made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for who obey him.” I see this event in the life of Jesus as a learning experience for him. Not only did the Holy Spirit inspire the Canaanite woman to say, “Please, Lord, for even the dogs eat the scraps that fall from the table of their masters;” but also the Spirit inspired Jesus to respond, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it done for you as you wish.” Jesus, in his humanity, was learning every day; in his divinity, he knew, knows and will know all forever. The Church’s magisterium teaches that Jesus was one divine person but had two natures, the human and the divine. Some may be tempted to think that the above means that he was half- human and half-divine. NO! Jesus was one divine person that had two natures. Like the Trinity this is one of those divine mysteries that we only superficially fathom. Let the example of Jesus help us in our humanity to learn every day, especially in the spiritual realm.
Romans 11:13-15, 29-32. Paul gives us something of a maze here. My understanding is that the sinfulness of the sinner invites God’s mercy. As the Gentiles received God’s mercy in their sinfulness so may the Jews receive God’s mercy in their sinfulness, their rejection of Jesus as their Messiah.` “For God delivered all to disobedience, that he might have mercy upon all.” We are all sinners seeking to be saints.