GOD IS ALWAYS FAITHFUL IN ALL HIS PROMISES
(Wednesday, August 07, 2019)
Today’s readings give us a clear message that the Lord is not happy with us if we are driven by fear rooted in a lack of trust in Him. In fact, God rewards behaviour that is bold and confident in His compassion. In the first reading, God instructs Moses to send a group of leaders from the tribes to investigate the land God plans to give them. The “princes” of the tribes who are chosen are presumed to be representative of the best and brightest of each of the twelve families.
They are sent ahead to “scope out” the territory on the other side of the river in order to find the best place and way to bring the rest of the community into the land. But these heroes are terrified by the people they find in this new place, and, despite its riches and possibilities for their flourishing, they are terrified from what they saw. What they have obviously forgotten are the very recent acts of God to rescue them from a land that was consuming its inhabitants (Egypt), and from a very competent army (Pharaoh’s troops).
Why would God not be there for them in this new situation to make their passage successful? Why would God not be able to work in them to accomplish the Divine purpose? At times in the journey of our faith, we become so afraid and think the same, whether God is truly with us or show us the way to God. God is profoundly annoyed with them and with their kinsmen who listened to their fear and responded with “group panic.”
The Lord’s displeasure is so great that he curses them with their earlier worst nightmare – of dying in the wilderness unmarked and unremembered. God will delay the peoples’ entry into the new land by one year for every day that their leaders explored – thus they are confined to the wilderness for 40 years – and essentially this generation of adults will all die off as result of their lack of trust in God.
The gospel today gospel is a very familiar story; a Canaanite woman begs for Jesus to cure her daughter. He refuses, insisting that His ministry is only for the Israelites, “it is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs.” But she persists and ultimately her quick reply, “even the dogs eat the scraps that fall from their master’s tables”, changes Jesus stand and decision.
The apparently negative manner that Jesus uses towards this woman is a little surprising, but I think that we remain only on the surface if that is all that we see. Jesus seems to challenge or even argue with this woman, but I would say that what Jesus is doing is teasing her, drawing her out. Jesus tested the faith of this woman even to the extent of indirectly calling her dog but she stood firm and accepted everything. This woman also understood that our God is a merciful and compassionate God who always listens to the cries of those who come to Him in faith. The very act of this woman in this gospel proved that she is a woman of faith indeed.
This woman till tomorrow will remain a big reference point for us in matters of faith especially in the midst of challenges, trials and insults. The most important thing in this gospel is how the story ended. This woman went home happy because her request was granted because of the level of her faith. Let us always ask God to increase our faith in Him if the one we have is not strong enough and then show this faith when occasion arises.
Let Us Pray: Lord Jesus, give me grace to hold unto you firmly in faith so that I will be able to receive the blessings you have prepared for me. Amen.