Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Readings

IS 56: 1, 6-7
ROM 11: 13-15, 29-32
MT 15:21-28

Reflection

This summer I was blessed with the opportunity to go on a mission trip to Colombia. While there, our group attended a Mass in one of the oldest cathedrals. There is a sacred beauty in attending Mass in a language or culture other than your own. It emphasizes the true universality of the Church. As an American, with a very, very limited Spanish vocabulary, I can walk into a Colombian Mass and know (roughly) what is being done and said and am able to participate, even in my own different language. During this particular Mass, there was a Colombian woman seated across the aisle from our group. And boy, was she full of the Holy Spirit that day. For each response, no matter how quietly others may have mumbled the words, she proclaimed them with such enthusiasm and conviction. When it came time to sing, she sang (albeit quite a bit out of tune). I observed that others attending Mass gave her some disapproving looks and eye rolls, but that did not matter to her. She was there, in the moment, with her God.
 
I had observed something similar when I visited St. Patrick’s cathedral in New York while visiting a friend from USD. After attending Mass, we walked around the cathedral with the other tourists as another Mass was being held. As I was walking up the left side, observing the different beautifully decorated statues of saints, I was startled by a loud “AMEN!” Out of instinct, my head snapped in the direction of the sound, as did everyone around me. It had come from a woman seated towards the back corner of the church, behind a pillar. From her appearance and the bags beside her, I assume that she was homeless. However, just like the woman in Colombia, she didn’t seem to care how those around her might viewed her. It only mattered that she was there, praising her God in “a house of prayer for all people.”
 
God doesn’t only want the perfect and the clean. He wants the broken, the messy, the dirty. He made us in his image, and with the free will to decide whether to love and trust Him or not. “For God delivered all to disobedience, that he might have mercy upon all.” We don’t have to always be perfect. We don’t have to have the best voice, or clean, nice clothes to be with him. Just like the Canaanite woman in this week’s gospel, God rejoices when we run to him and say “Lord, help me.” The world pushes us to be complete all on our own, but God wishes for us to be complete in Him.
 
- Molly McGarvey, ‘19