August 20, Sunday of the 20th week in Ordinary Time
Daily Readings: First reading: Isaiah 56:1, 6-7; Second reading: Romans 11:13–15, 29–32; Gospel: Matthew 15:21–28.
Did you notice a theme in today's readings? Isaiah prophesies that the Temple, God's "house," will become a house of prayer "for all peoples," wherever they come from (56:7). Then Paul rejoices that Gentiles are coming to faith in Christ and entering the church, God's house. And Jesus challenges his disciples to look at a Canaanite woman, a pagan, as someone beloved of God and deserving of his mercy.
Through these readings, we can hear God asking us to reach out to those who might feel they don't belong in his house. They may not be the people we expect to see at Mass on Sunday, but they are part of the "all peoples" whom God is longing to welcome into his kingdom. Here are three short stories that illustrate this point:
Imran grew up in a devout Muslim household, but in college, he became friends with some Christians whose faith and welcoming attitude moved him to start reading the New Testament.
Mandy loved to party, but after one hangover too many, she found an AA group meeting in the local parish. There she met a parishioner named Joan, who helped her get sober and introduced her to the Lord.
Alan was a regular brawler in prison until his new cellmate convinced him to join a Bible study. The message of Jesus' forgiveness and love that he heard there pierced his heart. Now, instead of fighting, he tells other inmates about the Lord.
Jesus' heart breaks for those who don't yet know him. He is always reaching out to them, calling them into his house. And he does that by leading them to believers who do know him. That's us. All we have to do is befriend those people and share with them how the Lord has touched our lives. We don't have to do it perfectly, either. We just have to try, and the Spirit will work through us.
So, who will God send to you today?
"Lord, open my heart to share your love with the people you put in my path today."
Radio Veritas Asia (RVA), a media platform of the Catholic Church, aims to share Christ. RVA started in 1969 as a continental Catholic radio station to serve Asian countries in their respective local language, thus earning the tag “the Voice of Asian Christianity.” Responding to the emerging context, RVA embraced media platforms to connect with the global Asian audience via its 21 language websites and various social media platforms.