20th Sunday in Ordinary Time

St. Pius X | News
18 Aug 2017

The gospel story is a strange one, and yet it is one that all of us are familiar with. It involves an encounter with a beggar. True, the Canaanite woman was not begging for money. But she was begging for a favor. At one time or another all of us have approached by a beggar, either at our doorstep or on a public street. One wonders how Jesus would deal with these kind of situations. Jesus had withdrawn with his apostles to the region of Tyre and Sidon, which was Gentile country. It seems that he had gone there for a break. However, no sooner had he arrived there, than he was accosted by a pagan woman who pestered him to cure her sick daughter. How do we react when we encounter someone begging? I think it would be fair to say that few of us come out of such an encounter with credit. Generally, we refuse to help the person. We justify our refusal to help by telling ourselves that we haven’t the time, that we can’t help everyone, that I better not to give them anything because in giving we are only encouraging a begging mentality. We can draw some comfort from the Gospel story because the Apostles reaction was not unlike our own. They felt this woman was a nuisance and wanted Jesus to get rid of her, and as quickly as possible. An encounter with the poor person can be a humbling experience because it makes us aware of our own poverty. The encounter can also awaken within us feelings of tenderness and compassion, kindness and communion. And above all it reminds us that before God all of us are poor.