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Homily for the 20th sunday in ordinary time, Year A



ISAIAH 56:1,6-7
ROMANS 11:13-15,29-32
MATTHEW 15:21-28


Dearly Beloved, Mother Church today invites us to see God's mercy and justice as not limited to one particular group with a call on us not to create restrictions for God by putting Him in a pigeonhole.

A story is told of a priest who visited a family but when he was ready to leave, asked that all the school going children should be brought for prayers. However, during the prayers, the woman came to pull one of the children with the excuse that the child is not her biological child though this child attends the same school as her children.

Many a time, we assume that God's blessings are limited to people of a certain religion, nationality or culture. We restrict God as to who He can bless and who He cannot. But the truth we must accept is that God is just and merciful (Psalm 103:8) and his justice and mercy are unlimited. However, it is "merited",not picked by the roadside – we activate His mercy and justice by our actions and choices.

God's mercy is not the sole or exclusive right of any individual or group; it is for all and each one of us has an equal opportunity if we respond by attaching ourselves to Him.

Beloved, "mercy to all", does not mean God will save everyone, rather that His mercy is available to all those who will respond. You therefore need to work at your salvation with fear and trembling (Phil 2:12). Again, for Paul, we are all saved by the free grace of God and not because we belong to the "right group".

Therefore, according to Pope Francis, it is not our calling to act as judge, rather ambassadors of Jesus who is both the Jewish Messiah and the loving Lord of the whole world.

Beloved, we need to draw a distinction between all can be saved and all are saved. The story of the Canaanite woman presents us with what to do to be saved; namely – rise above impatience, prejudice, keep your focus and persevere in your faith journey.

Today, let us remember that since our God is beyond our human limitations, His house is not a place of exclusion but a place of welcome and prayer for all to seek Him (Isaiah 56:7) and not a place of gossip, fashion, etc.

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