Scripture: Lectionary 409. Numbers 13:1-2.25-14: 1,26-29.34-35. Psalm
106:6-7.13-14.21-22.23. Matthew 15:21-28
Historical Psalms retell the stories found in the great narratives of the
Torah. Often they give us the true perspective of what happened to the
prophets, the psalmists, the people,and their leaders like Moses and David.
This is the reason they are chosen as our Psalm Response. They help us pray
the readings and even sing out our praises. The atmosphere of the
historical event is restored through our memories and our prayerful poetry
in the psalms that we are accustomed to after so many years of attending
the liturgy of the Word and the Eucharist. Like our own fitting into the
history of our own time, they reflect the good times and the difficult ones
in the life of God’s People Israel. However, in the liturgy they become our
own spiritual resource and they often fit our issues and concerns.
The new trial the Israelites face is that of entering the Promised Land
which is occupied by strong nations and peoples. “We cannot attack these
people; they are too strong for us.” They compare themselves to
grasshoppers among the Amalekites and the giant like peoples of Canaan. As
a result the whole people of Israel wanders about in the desert for an
extra long time called forty years. Moses will not be able to enter the
Land; Joshua will have this privilege of leading them into their own
inheritance promised by God.
One of the Canaanites many years later meets up with Jesus and asks that
her daughter be healed or restored to full life. Jesus puts her off by
saying, “My mission is only to the lost sheep of Israel.” Her witty and
wise remark to Jesus gains him to listen to her request and he grants the
healing of her daughter. The woman and daughter remain unnamed but are
among the friends of Jesus whom he touched because of their faith. Jesus
tells her, “Woman, you have great faith; your wish will come to pass.” And
we are told that at that moment her daughter got better. Like this woman
we should not fear even the obstacles that Jesus sometimes puts in our way.
Ultimately, when we come to our senses in the spiritual response we give
him, he will remove the obstacle. Amen.