20th Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)
Is 56:1, 6-7
Rm 11: 13-15. 29-32
At the back of our minds, sometimes we wonder why our prayers don’t always get dramatic results as the woman’s prayer in the Gospel. Maybe it is because we don’t have enough love, enough humility and enough faith.
Take note of the woman’s way of making her request—she did not blame God for allowing her innocent daughter to be tormented by demons; her humble attitude which enables her to accept the Lord’s initial rejection; her persistence to come back right back with another petition; her utmost love for her daughter. Love, faith and humility—these are the paramount elements for prayer that moves the heart of God.
Three times, the woman was rejected: first, Jesus did not answer her; second, Jesus refused his disciples’ plea on her behalf; third, when Jesus said that the children’s food should not be given to the dogs. It was only on the fourth time when her request was granted: “Woman you have great faith. Let your wish be granted.”
Why the delay in answering the pleas of the woman? Why allow the child to agonize for so long? We humans do not have the full answer to these piping questions. Human suffering is a mystery but behind the mystery is the assurance that all things will eventually work together for the good of all who have love, faith, and humility.