Fr. Americo Santos

Homily: 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time

August 20, 2023

Today's readings emphasize that the "Kingdom of God" is universal, contrary to the belief that salvation was only for Jews. Although God set the Hebrew people apart as His chosen race, He included all nations in His plan for salvation and blessed all the families of the earth in Abraham (Gn 12:1-3).

By declaring through the prophet Isaiah (first reading), “My house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples,” God reveals the truth that in His eyes there is no distinction among human beings because of nation, race, or color. All nations were intended to be part of the long-expected Messianic kingdom, not only the Jews.

In the second reading, Paul explains that, although the Jews were the chosen people, many of them rejected Jesus as the promised Messiah, and God turned to the Gentiles who received mercy because of their Faith in Jesus.

By healing the daughter of a Canaanite woman as a reward for her strong faith, Jesus shows in the Gospel story that salvation was meant for both the Jews and the Gentiles. Thus, Jesus shows us that God’s mercy and love are available to all who look and call out to Him in Faith.

The message for us this Sunday: We should continue to pray with confidence and include petitions along with adoration and thanksgiving in our personal prayers. We cannot provide anything for our own spiritual and temporal needs. Only God can do it. That is why Christ Himself has told us to ask Him for our needs in Luke 11,9 “Ask and you will receive; seek and you will find knock and the door will be opened to you.”

Asking Jesus with fervor and perseverance proves that we have a great Faith. Also it should prove that we can receive all that Christ wants to grant us in response to our requests. In Christian life, sometimes we don't get what we ask for, but God gives us what's best for us or the people we pray for. What we need most is to receive the peace and security that comes from being in harmony with God’s will for us. Let us trust that every time we pray for something, the answer is already on its way, even before we have asked God for it. We just need to trust God’s timetable and infinite wisdom that He will answer us according to His will and purpose.

Today's Gospel reminds us that if we call on Jesus in Faith and trust, He extends His love and mercy to us, regardless of our identity or location. We should break down our walls and share God's love with everyone. God’s care extends beyond the boundaries of race and nation to the hearts of all who live. Therefore, we should pray for the breaking down of walls that we raise sometimes because of our pride, intolerance, fear, and prejudice.

Also, we have to be grateful to God for all the blessings we receive. As baptized members of the Christian community, we have received many gifts and easy access to God’s love. But we have responsibilities arising from these gifts. One of these responsibilities is to make clear to others that God’s love, mercy, and healing are for them also because they are the children of God too. May the Holy Mary, mother of God, intercede for our petitions now and forever. Amen.