Tuesday, August 04, 2015


WEDNESDAY, 18th Week in Ordinary Time



August 5, 2015 WEDNESDAY, 18th Week in Ordinary Time 

Dedication of the Basilica of St. Mary Major     



Nm 13:1 – 2, 25 – 14: 1, 26a – 29a, 34 – 35 / Mt 15: 21 – 28


[The divine motherhood of Mary was defined at the Council of Ephesus in 431.  Pope St. Sixtus III (Pope from 432 – 440) dedicated this basilica in Rome to the Mother of God.]


Reading: Nm 13:1 – 2, 25 – 14: 1, 26a – 29a, 34 – 35

     Yahweh then spoke to Moses, saying, "Send men to explore the land of Canaan that I am giving to the Israelites; send one man from each of the ancestral tribes, all of them leaders."

     After forty days of exploration, they returned. They went and met Moses, Aaron and the whole community of Israelites in the wilderness of Paran at Kadesh. They gave an account to them and the whole community and showed them the fruit of this land. And they said,

     "We entered the land where you sent us, truly a land flowing with milk and honey and here is the fruit. But how strong are the people who inhabit the land! The cities are fortified with walls and bars, and we even saw there descendants of the Anakites. Amalekites live in the region of the Negeb; Hittites, Jebusites and Amorites live in the hill country; the Canaanites are by the sea and along the banks of the Jordan."

     Caleb then quieted the people who rose up against Moses and said, "We should go up and take over the land, for we shall surely overcome it." But the men who had gone up with him said, "We cannot advance against these people for they are stronger than we are."

     And they spread an unfavorable report about the land that they had explored, saying to the Israelites,"The land we went through to explore is a land that devours its inhabitants and all the people we saw there are men of great size. We even saw giants (these giants were the Anakites). We felt like grasshoppers before them, and to them we must have seemed the same."

     Then all the community broke out in loud cries and wept during the night. 

     Then Yahweh spoke to Moses and Aaron saying, "How long will this wicked community grumble against me?" I have heard the grumblings of the people of Israel against me. Say to them: As truly as I live, it is Yahweh who speaks, I will do to you what you have said in my hearing. All of you of twenty years or more, numbered in the census, who grumbled against me, your corpses will fall in the desert. 

     According to the number of days spent in exploring the land – forty days, for every day a year – for forty years you shall bear the guilt of your sins and you shall know what it is to oppose me. I, Yahweh, have spoken. Surely this is what I will do to this wicked community that has conspired against me. In this wilderness they shall be destroyed and this is where they shall die."


Gospel: Mt 15: 21 - 28

     Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. Now a Canaanite woman came from those borders and began to cry out, "Lord, Son of David, have pity on me! My daughter is tormented by a demon." But Jesus did not answer her, not even a word. So his disciples approached him and said, "Send her away: see how she is shouting after us."

     Then Jesus said to her, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of the nation of Israel." But the woman was already kneeling before Jesus and said, "Sir. Help me!" Jesus answered, "It is not right to take the bread from the children and throw it to the little dogs." The woman replied, "It is true, sir, but even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from the master's table." Then Jesus said, "Woman, how great is your faith! Let it be as you wish."  And her daughter was healed at that moment.   



     The Gospel reading pictures a Canaanite woman with great faith, "'Woman, how great is your faith! Let it be as you wish.' And her daughter was healed at that moment."

     In life we encounter many rejections, trials and sufferings which oftentimes put us down. Faith in God gives us hope, heals us and helps us to move on. Super-typhoon Yolanda destroyed property and livelihood, took away lives and devastated families and communities. It is amazing to hear stories of so many who did not lose hope, of victims who clung to their faith in a good God, who turned to God in prayer as they tried to make sense of what had befallen them. They gathered in damaged churches and chapels to ask for God's help. In the words of a survivor, "The Lord has strengthened our faith and made us stronger in order for us to survive and start all over again."

     Indeed God is there. He touched the hearts of so many, fellow countrymen and those from other nations, and they responded with their concern and help. The outpouring of God's love and blessings was made manifest in the generosity and care of so many who gave help.

     We all have our pains and sufferings. If, like the Canaanite woman, we persevere in our prayer, everything will be possible with God's help.










Finally, we pray for one another, for those who have asked our prayers and for those who need our prayers the most. 


Have a good day!



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