God's Mercy

08-16-2020Weekly ReflectionFr. Arul Doss

Dear People of God,

God’s mercy is for all. God’s mercy to entire humanity without borders is one of the themes running through all three readings this Sunday. It simply means that every one of us has equal opportunity of the mercy of God if we respond accordingly to His invitation. Therefore, all the readings of this Sunday present to us a God whose mercy is not the sole or exclusive right of any individual or particular group.

The invitation and mercy of God is large and strong enough to restore all of us, but it is for only those who are ready to throw away their pride, shame, and disobedience in order to come to Him.

In the first reading, prophet Isaiah presents a bold vision where God will actually bring to the 'holy mountain’ foreigners who have attached themselves to the Lord. He makes the mind of God known to all. The only condition he requires is that we must attach ourselves to Him, serve him and love him.

In the second reading, Paul says that God’s mercy is available to all those who will respond accordingly to his invitation. This is the reason he tells us: “Work out your salvation with fear and trembling!” (Phil 2, 12). God has played his part by extending his invitation to all and making His mercy available in abundance. We must play our own part by responding accordingly to his invitations.

The Gospel, Mt 15:21-28, telling of Jesus’ encounter in the region of Tyre and Sidon with a Canaanite woman whose daughter was tormented by a devil, presents us with one of the most striking episodes of inclusiveness in the Gospel tradition.

Jesus was initially hesitant to listen to the woman perhaps must have been a tactical way of testing her faith. In order words, in spite of the fact that God is ready to show us mercy unequivocally, he requires something from us. Something Jesus himself described as: “a faith as small as the mustard seed” (Mt 17: 20). It is sure that the faith demonstrated by this woman surpassed the expectation of Jesus.

Far from being offended by Jesus, she was inspired by Him to ask for what she desired. For this, Jesus commended her faith in a way that no Jew was ever commended. The lesson this woman teaches us is simple! Though God may test us in seemingly strange and unpredictable ways, he will not turn away from his promises to help those who call on him in their time of need. And he will never turn his back on true faith. This is the type of faith that our first reading refers to when it says: “Foreigners who have attached themselves to the Lord to love and serve him.” Jesus found that faith in this woman after making her pass through the “acid test”. Like this woman, each and every one of us in a certain way is in need of God’s mercy.

One of the greatest requirements in order to respond accordingly to the universal invitation of God and to share in his mercy is faith in his son Jesus Christ. Today, Jesus is close to us. Are we going to let him pass us by without insisting on having his mercy? We must take our opportunity, grab his cloak right now, kneel down, cry if you will, shout until he hears you, and shut your ears to all the insults and insist on entering into Jesus’ large umbrella of mercy.

Have a Happy and Blessed Sunday!!