Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time
August 16, 2020
Today, in Mercy, we read the story of the Canaanite woman whom Jesus first meets with a sarcastic banter. The banter however serves to expose some of the alienating prejudices of Jesus’s time which he then dissolves in a sweeping act of mercy and inclusion. His actions signify a new culture of divine justice offered to all people. The reading challenges us to confront our own prejudices and any limitations we place on who belongs to the Kingdom of God.from this Sunday’s Reflection – 2017
Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 67, a call to God for universal blessing on all Creation. Written to invoke a benediction on the land’s harvest, the Psalm blossoms into a generous prayer for the whole world to bask in God’s abundance.
May the nations be glad and rejoice;
for you judge the peoples with fairness,
you guide the nations upon the earth.
What if we prayed like that for all our brothers and sisters worldwide! What if we acted toward them with a justice that would make their abundance possible as well as our own! This is the Gospel mandate Jesus entrusted to us.
Psalm 67 shows the maturing of a nation from its own legitimate self-interests into its responsibility within all Creation.
In the USA, as our pre-election political awareness heightens, let’s learn from Psalm 67. Let’s broadly educate ourselves to the fundamental moral issues underlying various partisan platforms.
For a religious person, voting is hard. There are profound moral issues on all sides of the question. A single issue approach does not work. An adamant stance on a single issue is the easy but inadequate approach.
Even Jesus, in today’s Gospel, can be moved to a new way of thinking. The outcast Canaanite woman prevails on Jesus to broaden his kingdom. He opens his heart to another way of bringing mercy to all those longing for it.
Voting is a moral act. How we choose demonstrates the God we believe in.
May the peoples praise you, God;
may ALL the peoples praise you!
Poetry: Selah by Honoreé Fannane Jeffers
“The past few weeks were very hopeful for me, as an African-American. I saw images of young Black people out in the streets protesting, to make this country a better place. As an older person who stayed inside while these young folks put their bodies on the line, I wanted to celebrate them. I wrote this poem as a spiritual exaltation of Black faith, that our hoped-for change for our country is coming.”Honoreé Fanonne Jeffers
Selah after Margaret Walker’s “For My People” The Lord clings to my hands after a night of shouting. The Lord stands on my roof & sleeps in my bed. Sings the darkened, Egun tunnel— cooks my food in abundance, though I was once foolish & wished for an emptied stomach. The Lord drapes me with rolls of fat & plaits my hair with sanity. Gives me air, music from unremembered fever. This air oh that i may give air to my people oh interruption of murder the welcome Selah The Lord is a green, Tubman escape. A street buzzing with concern, minds discarding answers. Black feet on a centuries-long journey. The Lord is the dead one scratching my face, pinching me in dreams. The screaming of the little girl that I was, the rocking of the little girl that I was— the sweet hush of her healing. Her syllables skipping on homesick pink. I pray to my God of confused love, a toe touching blood & swimming through Moses-water. A cloth & wise rocking. An eventual Passover, outlined skeletons will sing this day of air for my people— oh the roar of God oh our prophesied walking
Music: Charles Ives – Psalm 67