XX SUNDAY OF THE YEAR
isaiah 56:1, 6-7; romans 11:13-15, 29-32; matthew 15:21-28
for several years, dr devi shetty and his narayana hrudayalaya have been treating children from various countries. dr shetty says: «pain has no language… reaction to pain and suffering is the same, so our reaction to the problem is also the same.» he says they are «doctors without frontiers.»
on 30 september 2009, fr davis chiramel donated his kidney to c. gopinathan in kochi. on 2 september 2016, anwar ahmed and vinod mehra stepped beyond religious boundaries, and donated their kidneys to each other’s wives in jaipur.
these attitudes and gestures—there are several similar heart-warming stories—have broken ethnic and religious barriers.
in the gospel, no barrier could keep the canaanite woman away from jesus… neither his indifferent silence nor his statement about his mission «only to the lost sheep of the house of israel» nor his apparent rebuke about not throwing children’s food to the dogs. further, she had several strikes against her: she was a woman, a widow (most likely), and a foreigner.
her persistent faith persuaded jesus to reach beyond gender/ ethnic/ geographical boundaries to cure her daughter.
the first and second readings set the stage for the drama in the gospel.
isaiah gives voice to GOD’s intention to extend israel’s privileges to all «foreigners who join themselves to the LORD.» GOD yearns to be in relationship with all peoples.
paul emphasises that GOD’s mercy is intended for all, whether jew or gentile.
pope francis symbolises this aspect of GOD’s love when he washes the feet (on maundy thursday) of men and women of varied ethnicities and creeds, of the disabled, and of inmates of juvenile detention centres and prisons.
do i reach out in love to all people irrespective of gender, caste, class, creed or ethnicity? how will i imitate GOD to go beyond borders and barriers?