Posted by: frburke23 | August 3, 2010

Thought for Wednesday, August 4 – St. John Vianney

Matthew 15: 21-28

At that time Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon.
And behold, a Canaanite woman of that district came and called out,
“Have pity on me, Lord, Son of David!
My daughter is tormented by a demon.”
But he did not say a word in answer to her.
His disciples came and asked him,
“Send her away, for she keeps calling out after us.”
He said in reply,
“I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
But the woman came and did him homage, saying, “Lord, help me.”
He said in reply,
“It is not right to take the food of the children
and throw it to the dogs.”
She said, “Please, Lord, for even the dogs eat the scraps
that fall from the table of their masters.”
Then Jesus said to her in reply,
“O woman, great is your faith!
Let it be done for you as you wish.”
And her daughter was healed from that hour.


We can sometimes relate to the frustration of the disciples in this Gospel, right?  They are tired of listening to this lady, and a pagan Canaanite woman at that!  And Jesus’ first words are rather harsh.  He explains that He only came to save Israel first and then he equates the Canaanite woman to dogs receiving the scraps from the table.

However, the woman is unshaken.  She is desperate because her daughter is possessed.  She is willing to do anything to save her and she sees Jesus as the answer, the savior for her daughter.  She is willing to receive even the scraps from the table of Jesus. 

He is amazed by her faith and heals her daughter.  Jesus shows at this point that He not only came to save Israel, but all!  And faith is key to this salvation.

Today the Church remembers the life of St. John Marie Vianney, the patron saint for parish priests.  He was turned down by many seminaries because he was not a good student, but he persevered in faith, like the woman in the Gospel today.  He finally was accepted and struggled through the studies of seminary.  But he was a holy priest, dedicated to prayer, fasting and hearing confessions.  He was assigned to a tiny parish in Ars, France so he wouldn’t do much damage, I suppose.  But his simple holiness began attracting people from all over Europe and the world!  His simple lifestyle reminds me of Mother Theresa.  You don’t have to have wealth or material possessions to make a huge impact on the world.  And look at the impact they had on souls for eternity!

How am I with the Lord?  Have I given my heart and soul to Jesus, the same one who healed the possessed girl and the same Jesus who drew St. John Marie Vianney into the priesthood?  Jesus loves us unconditionally.  Do I have faith that He can save me and heal me?  May we approach the Lord in faith today, confident that He can heal out woundedness and perform miracles in our lives.


Fr. Burke


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