Saturday, August 13, 2011

I believe...

Is 56:1, 6-7; Rom 1;13-15, 29-32; Mat 15:21-28

We all surely have heard about the “Holocaust”- the systematic, state-sponsored persecution and murder of approximately six million Jews by the Nazi regime and its collaborators, throughout Nazi-occupied territory during World War II. The Nazis, who came to power in Germany in January 1933, believed that Germans were "racially superior" and that the Jews, deemed "inferior," were an alien threat to the so-called German racial community.

During the era of the Holocaust, German authorities also targeted other groups because of their perceived "racial inferiority": Roma (Gypsies), the disabled, and some of the Slavic peoples (Poles, Russians, and others). Other groups were persecuted on political, ideological, and behavioral grounds, among them Communists, Socialists, Jehovah's Witnesses, and homosexuals.

Shortly after the World War II, workmen were clearing out the debris from a bombed-out house in Cologne, Germany. On one of the cellar walls of the house they found a moving inscription. It had apparently been written there by a fugitive Jew who had used the basement to hide from Nazis. The inscription read:

I believe in the sun, even when it is not shining.I believe in love, even when I don't feel it.I believe in God, even when there is silence.

The inscription speaks a lot for whoever person wrote it. It’s about HOPE, it’s about FAITH. It’s about unwavering TRUST. And it brings us to the woman in today’s gospel—the Canaanite woman. She came to Jesus with hope, with faith, with trust. She believed in Jesus even though at first Jesus was silent. And at last the Lord acknowledges her faith. Her request was rewarded. Her daughter was healed.

The story of the Canaanite woman is more than just a demonstrative faith. It is a story that tells us about God’s love which is beyond the boundaries of race and nation. Because of that no one should be excluded from the all embracing reach of God’s love. That’s why the story of the Canaanite woman is so important to us. It explains how we came to share the legacy of the Chosen People of God—the common message of all the readings today.

In the 1st reading, Isaiah, speaking for God, says this: All who join themselves to the Lord “will be brought to my holy mountain.” It’s not just one person or one particular group but all. There are no exceptions. In the 2nd reading, Paul voices his pleasure in being sent to the Gentiles. He concludes in a beautiful statement that God is merciful to all. The Canaanite woman brought about the inclusiveness of God.

However, there is also another thing which we actually can learn from the Canaanite woman. She knew how to be a parent of faith. She is an exemplary mother who would do anything for her child’s welfare. AND.. you parents probably would claim the same for your selves. You would do anything and have done anything you could for your child’s welfare. You work hard to provide means for your children.. you are doing your best to ensure your children would be secure for their future. You send them to tuition, you give them hand phones so that they can call you anytime, you provide Internet for them so that would not be bored at home. You bought them pets to play and to love and so on and so forth.

But do you spend adequate time with them? Do you know their friends? Do you know what site they have logged in last night? Do you have faith in them? Or if you don’t.. have you given them faith? What is your expectation from your children? What if they don’t meet your expectation? What if you found out that your son is indulged in drug? What if you daughter gets pregnant and resorts to abortion?

We don’t want it to happen, at least not to our family members. But it’s a reality.. it’s happening in our society, in our community, in our family. Would we blame God for being silent to our prayers? Are we going to give up on God?

All the more reason we need the gospel today. We need the strength and courage of the Canaanite woman. We need her to ensure us that God is listening. We also need to embrace the FAITH of the fugitive Jews who was hiding from the Nazis. Remember what he had inscribed on the cellar wall?

I believe in the sun, even when it is not shining.I believe in love, even when I don't feel it.I believe in God, even when there is silence.
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