Scripture reading reflection


Scripture Reading Reflection
by Fr. Andrew Kelly
A 2014 believing community has divisions and boundaries established and inherited from years and generations ago. The community Matthew wrote for in Sunday’s Gospel (Matthew 15:21-28) had similar problems. “Could Gentiles become members?” After all, there was the long established tradition: “I (Jesus) was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Did that mean Gentiles could not be saved or belong?
Matthew’s answer is the story of the Gentile Canaanite woman who in spite of obstacles persevered in prayerful faith in Jesus’ power. Jesus’ proclamation and acceptance of the woman’s prayerful faith eventually broke down the boundary and division within Matthew’s community.
Communities in 2014 are filled with tensions of rigid boundaries and divisions long established by tradition between men and women, ordained and non-ordained members, and by mission issues, just to name a few.
If this is true, Matthew suggests the community take a long and serious look at its prayer life. Does the community persevere in prayerful faith despite obstacles as the Canaanite woman did? If so, then as in Matthew’s community, through the grace of God, community boundaries and divisions eventually begin to break down. This is community prayer/faith that Jesus truly responds to.
(Father Andrew Kelly is a retired priest of the Diocese of Davenport.)

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