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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

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Pope St. Sixtus II
St. Cajetan

Numbers 13:1, 2, 25—14:1, 26-29, 34-35
Psalm 106:6-7, 13-14, 21-23
Matthew 15:21-28

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obstacle course (part 1)

"His disciples came up and began to entreat Him, 'Get rid of her. She keeps shouting after us.' " —Matthew 15:23

The Canaanite woman faced numerous obstacles to obtaining healing for her daughter: her pagan background (Mt 15:24), the disciples' interference (Mt 15:23), and even Jesus' own initial responses to her intercession (Mt 15:24, 26). Yet she kept her eyes on Jesus and His mercy, not on the obstacles in her path. She displayed humility by acknowledging her position outside of Jesus' originally defined ministerial territory (Mt 15:27). Yet she downplayed the obstacles and magnified Jesus, addressing Him as "Lord" (Mt 15:25). She believed so much in the mercy of Jesus that no obstacle course laid before her could overcome her "great faith" (Mt 15:28) in Jesus' healing power and mercy.

Most of the Hebrew scouts kept their eyes on the obstacle course in their path, not the mighty works of God which they had just recently seen (Ex 14:21-22). They looked at the height of the Canaanite people and "spread discouraging reports" (Nm 13:32). In so doing, they opposed God (see Nm 14:34). How ironic it is that the pagan Canaanites, of whom the scouts were so fearful, produced a woman of great faith, while the Israelites produced only obstacles to faith!

Jesus easily walks through obstacles like walls and locked doors (Jn 20:19). He has overcome the world and all its obstacles (Jn 16:33). Have faith in Him (Jn 14:1).

Prayer:  Father, may I not look at the obstacles in my path, but at Jesus, the Lord over all obstacles. Lord, increase my faith (Lk 17:5).

Promise:  "Jesus then said in reply, 'Woman, you have great faith! Your wish will come to pass.' That very moment her daughter got better." —Mt 15:28

Praise:  Following the example of his Master, St. Cajetan sought out the sick and the poor to tend to their needs.

Reference:  (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, February 4, 2013

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