Reflection on the Daily Readings for 8/05/09 by Fr. Bertrand Buby, SM
Scripture: Numbers 13:1-2.25. 14:1.26-29.34-35. Psalm 106:6-7.13-14. 21-23. Matthew 15:21-28. Lectionary # 409. Aug. 5, 2009.
Wandering in the desert for forty years or two generations is a terrible ordeal for the Israelites and most of these mature Israelites pass away in the arid and waterless wilderness. It will be up to the new generation to cross over into the promised land and they will. Again the Psalm is designed to capture the horror and suffering the people experienced. How devastating this experience was for them. We are given a good description of how bountiful the land is with its milk and honey and delicious fruits, but the Israelites are fearful of the Amalakites and especially of the Anakim, a race of giants. Even though Caleb is up to the challenge of entering this land the people resist and do not listen to those who were sent ahead to survey the situation. They did not believe in God’s promises that this would be their land; they murmured and stood still. We are like them when we fear to risk going deeper into the realm of the spiritual journey of our faith and our love for our neighbor. It always seems too risky. But prayer can help us through such resistance to God’s surprising graces in our lives. We must be strong in faith (Fortes in Fide in Latin). Now the woman in the Gospel who is not a Jew does have such faith and trust in Jesus that she is able to risk and say somethings that match Jesus mission of being sent only to his own people. She even humbles herself to being compared to a pup who waits for some morsels to fall to the floor so as to be nourished. Jesus is amazed at her wisdom and faith and grants her the favor she asks for and heals her daughter. What a wonderful statement Jesus offers her, “Woman, you have great faith. Your wish will come to pass. And that very moment her daughter got better.” Amen.