Daily Archives: August 20, 2017

Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle A

20 August 2017

Reflecting on Matthew 15:21-28

She’s a Mama Bear, this woman.  She doesn’t know a thing about Moses or the prophets. But she does know that her daughter is tormented by a demon, and that Jesus has the ability to heal her. Do you think hell or heaven is going to stand in her way? Would they stand in your way, if your daughter was desperately ill and Jesus was passing by? I didn’t think so.

The funny thing, though, is that Jesus is a Mama Bear too. As ferociously as she loves her daughter, Jesus loves her more. Do you think hell or heaven is going to stop him from curing her? Not in a million years.

Sometimes, though, he uses a situation to teach the onlookers―say, for example, those disciples who are urging him to get rid of this tiresome mother―a thing or two about faith.  It’s so amazing that his closest friends, those who have been with him through so much, still don’t get that his power and grace are for EVERYONE who believes. Somehow, after all this time, they still want salvation to be just about the Jews.

So Jesus grabs this teaching moment and allows this faith-filled woman, this outsider, to take center stage and engage him in a dialog whose true target is not him at all, but the disciples. He knows a thing about a mother’s love. Look who his mother is! He allows her to “teach” him―and those who are listening in― about God’s merciful love to ALL people.

I love imagining the godstruck disciples. But mostly I love imagining the mother and Jesus, and the bear hug they must have shared as the demon left her daughter.

In what ways have you been a “mama bear” in praying to Jesus for your loved ones?

 

Kathy McGovern ©2017

Kathy McGovern © 2014-2015

Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle A

20 August 2017

Reflecting on Matthew 14: 22-33

Here’s a thought. What if the real reason Peter jumped into the water and into the arms of Jesus was not that he was courageous enough to go, but because he was too terrified to stay? He must have gotten a lot of applause when he landed back in the boat, the storm calmed, Jesus finally with them after fending for themselves all night.

Whew! Peter, that was brave! I wish I had your faith! True, you faltered there for a second, but how courageous of you to leave the boat and head towards Jesus!

Now, Peter may have been squelching a guffaw at this point, and thinking to himself, Seriously? You thought that was brave? I was just trying to save my neck.

I know I’ve received a lot of credit in my life for “being brave” about things I’d change in a second if I could.  The things I actually might be able to do something about remain undone, because those would require actual courage.

But we have to give Peter this: when he had the choice to reach back for the safety of the boat or to reach out for Jesus, he reached with all his might. That is the rock-hard (Petra, or Peter) faith upon which our Church is built. When Peter, scaredy cat that he often was, had the choice between the boat behind him and Jesus ahead of him, he made the right choice.

That was the real grace of that night on the sea. Peter showed us which direction to go when the waves surround us. Next time you’re in a storm, try it. I promise you’ll find strength in the stretch.

In what ways have you “stretched out” for Jesus?

Kathy McGovern ©2017

Kathy McGovern © 2014-2015