Even the dogs eat the scraps (20th Sunday in Ordinary Time, August 17, 2014)

Oh my!! That was my first reaction when I opened up the Lectionary and looked at the readings for this coming Sunday. The readings are very timely and appropriate for what we as a country are going through right now.

The First Reading has Isaiah saying that God’s salvation and justice are about to be revealed. The prophet says that this blessing will come from foreigners, who will stream to the house of the Lord. Their sacrifices and offerings will be totally acceptable to God.

Our Second Reading from Romans is a bit convoluted it’s not an easily understood translation. Basically Paul says that salvation was first offered to the Jewish people, who rejected it. At the same time, they also rejected the Gentiles, making it very difficult for them to become members of the Chosen People. So Paul turned his attention and energy to the Gentiles, who flocked to the new Christian religion. The outsiders became the insiders. Paul’s hope was that the Jewish people would see this and have second thoughts about their rejection.

In the Gospel, a Cannanite woman asked Jesus to heal her daughter. At first Jesus totally refused. After all, this lady was #1 a woman, and #2, a member of the hated Cannanites (think Israeli and Palestinian). He basically called her a dog. With one of the great Scriptural comebacks, she replied: “Even the dogs eat the scraps from their master’s table.” So she helped Jesus realize that his ministry had to be broadened to include the so-called outsiders.

I assume you are up-to-date on the national and world news, and hopefully can see how these readings represent God’s input into the conversation. And make no mistake: it is God’s word. Please join me in whatever prayer those readings move you to.

Gentle Hugs!

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