Wednesday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time, August 7, 2019
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.
“O woman, great is your faith!”
What is faith? How can we get Faith?
I looked up Faith in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
“When St. Peter confessed that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, Jesus declared to him that this revelation did not come “from flesh and blood,” but from “my Father who is in heaven.” Faith is a gift of God, a super natural virtue infused by him. “Before this faith can be exercised, man must have the grace of God to move and assist him; he must have the interior helps of the Holy Spirit, who moves the heart and converts it to God, who opens the eyes of the mind and ‘makes it easy for all to accept and believe the truth.’” (CCC 153)
There are seven Virtues; three of them are called Theological Virtues and four are called Cardinal Virtues. The first of the three Theological Virtues is Faith.
Faith is the ground work, the base of our journey towards unity with Christ.
How is our Faith strengthened?
In this Gospel reading, the woman is begging the Lord to have pity on her. She is praying for her daughter to be healed. There are so many people in our world today that are praying for different things. Praying and begging the Lord for healing of family members or for themselves. Is this how our Faith is strengthened? Have you ever undergone a trial like this?
Who can we turn to when the trials are so hard, and the weight of our own cross is so heavy? The woman in this Gospel turned to Jesus, and put all of her trust in him. She opened her heart to Him.
Here is another quote from the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
“Now, however, “we walk by faith, not by sight”; we perceive God as “in a mirror, dimly” and only “in part.” Even in darkness one can be put to the test. The world we live in often seems very far from the one promised us by faith. Our experiences of evil and suffering, injustice, and death, seem to contradict the Good News; they can shake our faith and become a temptation against it.
It is then we must turn to the witnesses of faith: to Abraham, who “in hope…believed against hope”; to the Virgin Mary, who in “her pilgrimage of faith,” walked into the “night of faith” in sharing the darkness of her son’s suffering and death; and to so many others: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.” (CCC 164, 165)
Our Catholic faith is such a treasure. We are never alone. We have Mary and all the Saints we can turn to in prayer and ask for intercession. At the beginning of this month we celebrated the feasts of two very important Saints in our PAPA mission, Saint Alphonsus (patron of Confessors) and Saint John Vianney (patron of priests).
Our priests play an important role in our journey of faith. Our faith can be strengthened through the Sacraments and our priests are the ones who administer these Sacraments. Without our priests this would not be possible. I personally know a priest who is going through the Sabbatical program that the Roman Catholic Church has set up. He has asked for our prayers. His name is Father Dominic, please pray for him and all the priests that are going through this program. This month PAPA is praying especially for the virtue of “wisdom” for our priests. In my research on Faith, I have found that this Cardinal virtue is very closely linked to the Theological virtue of Faith.
In our PAPA handbook it states, “PRAY: With confidence “Jesus is with us always,” we also want “to be with Jesus always.” We will accomplish this by praying always. Our Lord Jesus promised us, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in their midst” (Matthew 18:20). Accordingly, we choose “prayer” —specifically, we choose “to pray together always” as the means “to be with Jesus always.”
Pray with confidence with the Saints or with a prayer partner, Jesus is listening… PAPA Prayer for Priests.
Mary Queen of Apostles - Make our priests holy.
St. Alphonsus - Pray for us.
St. John Vianney - Pray for us.