Thursday, August 8, 2013

Numbers 13:1-2, 23---14:1, 26-29, 34-35; Psalm 106:6-7, 13-14, 21-23, Matthew 15:21-28


Numbers 13:1-2, 23---14:1, 26-29, 34-35; Psalm 106:6-7, 13-14, 21-23, 
Matthew 15:21-28

Numbers 13:1-2, 23---14:1, 26-29, 34-35

To the leaders of the 12 tribes was given the responsibility of going on a fact finding mission.  Their report would decide the fate of their fellow Israelites.  They were   to survey a land already promised to them by God.

On entering they discovered how fertile the land was and how richly blessed by God. They spent 40 days exploring the land thoroughly and returned to give Moses a feedback of all that they had found out about the land that they were to occupy.  All 12 agreed that it was indeed a land of milk and honey just as the Lord had said.  However, instead of focusing on the promises of God they focused on their human limitations and allowed their fears to exaggerate the difficulties and they made the people believe that victory in claiming the promised land for themselves was impossible.  

Fear has a way of spreading its infection rapidly and we begin to lose hope.  The whole community began to wail and lament and pretty soon they were all discouraged and disheartened except Caleb and Joshua who believed in God's promise and His faithfulness.  The wrath of God struck down all above the age of 20 years who had doubted and grumbled because of their lack of faith despite God demonstrating His power mightily to them when He took them out of the land of Egypt and they were to wander in the desert for 40 years until that entire generation of grumblers and whiners had died with the exception of the the families of Joshua and Caleb.

Psalm 106:6-7, 13-14, 21-23

My Beloved, how long did it take for man to commit his first sin after he was created? In that short span of time humankind was exactly as the Father meant us to be.  Since that first sin, we continue to offend You by our willful disobedience to Your law of love.  We break the cardinal commandment all the time.  We have such short memories my Beloved, so quickly we forget all Your blessings when calamity strikes; even when we are surrounded by Your blessings and our bellies are full, we forget You and begin to sin giving way to sinful passions.

We keep forgetting You and the perfect perfect sacrifice You made to the Father in atonement for the sins of all mankind but You do not give up on us. Thank You for making intercession for us night and day before God.  Thank You for Your faithful love.

Matthew 15:21-28

Verse 21 
21 Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon.
Beloved, You were always on the move not because it was pleasant to be constantly going from one place to another but because You had a mission to a accomplish.  We don't wish to budge from our comfort zone.  We dislike change and grumble or are afraid when change is inevitable.  We would not choose it for ourselves and yet it is imperative for us to understand that we are only pilgrims and the more we move out into mission territory the greater impact we will have for good and to influence others for good in imitation of You.

In today's Gospel reading we see how You are once again presented with a beautiful teaching moment and You being the Teacher par excellence would certainly use it to drive home a very important lesson to those around You and to those will will read this text in Scripture through the ages.

Here is a foreigner - that fact alone puts her outside the circle of those who belong and believe that they have a right to be helped.  The Canaanite woman began to shout and cry out, she recognizes You just as Bartimaeus the blind beggar did and said, "Lord, Son of David, have pity on me!" You heard her cry but unlike Bartimaeus whom You also heard and called, Your response to this woman's heartrending cry for help for her daughter was met with complete and utter silence.  Did it deter her? Of course not! She shouted even louder.  Immediately those around became uncomfortable and embarrassed they wanted You to shut her up and get rid of her just like us my Beloved who call ourselves Christians yet are ready to consign everyone we consider on the outside to hell and damnation forever. We lack compassion, understanding and mercy.  We expect it for ourselves but not for others.

When You did respond, it was certainly not what she wanted to hear.  You put her firmly in her place, outside the circle exactly as those around You wanted to. You rejected her verbally while they rejected her in the courtroom of their minds and from the judgment seat of their hearts without giving her a fair hearing.  But she was a woman of valor, courage, faith hope and above all a mother's fiery and tender love for a child who desperately needed aid.  You knew exactly what her response would be when You said, “It is not right to take the bread from the children and throw it to the little dogs.”  She responded, “It is true, sir, but even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their master’s table.” Thus You were able to not only commend her faith loudly to all present but You taught us an unforgettable lesson on how we too can approach You and receive what we have asked.  You also taught us that no one is excluded from the mercy, compassion and love of God.

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