18th Week, Wednesday, Aug 5

Jeremiah 31: 1-7 / Matthew 15: 21-28
God comforts his people: “Once again I will rebuild you.”

A woman dropped a beautiful orange vase, and it splintered into dozens of tiny pieces. She swept them up and threw them away. An hour later the woman discovered that her little daughter had retrieved the pieces from the wastebasket and pasted them on a piece of white cardboard. Then, taking some crayons, the little girl drew stems, leaves, and flowers, converting the pieces into a bouquet. The woman was moved to tears. Her daughter had made something beautiful out of something that was broken and useless.

God did something similar to his people. He retrieved them from the wastebasket of history and shaped them into something beautiful.
How firmly do we believe that God can take the broken pieces of our lives and make something beautiful out of them? “You have changed my sadness into a joyful dance.” Psalm 30:11
The prophet Jeremiah was known for his cut-and-dry prophesies, most of which foretell disaster and doom to a people who had turned away from God.

Yet in today's 1st reading, comes a statement from the same prophet about how much God loves His people.
From his mouth came these words of the Lord: "I have loved you with an everlasting love".

It is a verse is that often quoted to express the eternity of God's love.But what is the reality of this love in our lives? Have we ever experienced God's love even in the temporary?

It might be difficult for us to understand this love of God until we have had the experience of being forgiven for committing a grave wrongdoing.

We may not understand this love of God until we had the experience of being saved from a great danger.

God's love for us is not only eternal, it is also a stubborn and persistent  love that probes us in order to make us respond to His love.

God's eternal love empowers us to live in love here on earth so that we will have the foretaste and the experience of what it means to live in love eternally.
Wednesday of 18th Week of Ordinary Time


To a people that has almost as a whole deserted God, Jeremiah gives the assurance that God will never be unfaithful to them. There will be a remnant that responds to God’s love. The clue to this is as simple and tremendous as this: God loves his people, the one from the past and that of the present. And so he loves us also. He loves us with a love that does not wear out. His affection remains constant.
There are some obvious problems with the story of the Canaanite woman. The words of Jesus sound harsh and discriminating against non-Jews. Some exegetes see in it an exchange of wits between the woman and Jesus, reflecting the prejudices of their time and yet fundamentally revealing that salvation is for all without discrimination and prejudice wherever faith is found. The way this story is told reflects the problem of the primitive Church whether to accept non-Jewish converts. Everyone who believes may eat from the Lord’s table and is fed more than crumbs.

Opening Prayer
Father of all,
long ago you chose the people of Israel
to make your name known to all the nations.
Your Son Jesus Christ made it clear
that forgiveness and the fullness of life are the share
of all who believe in him.
Make your Church truly a place of encounter
for all those who grope for you,
that all obstacles and barriers may be removed
and that the riches of all nations and cultures
may reveal the thousand faces
of the love you have shown us
in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Jeremiah excels in poetic imagery, especially in those sections that speak of Israel’s restoration. The country would one day stand out among the nations as the favored of God, a love that was there from the beginning. The faithful remnant of a faithless people would ultimately triumph.
In Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus has come primarily for the people of Israel. But even in that Gospel the non-Jew is not forgotten. The account of the Canaanite woman is a case in point. One stands in amazement at her determination. She had undoubtedly heard of Jesus and had decided to approach him at all costs. She enters the land of the Jews, a foreign woman in an alien culture. She was not only a woman; she was a nonbeliever in a world that did not look with favor on Gentile people. In the interests of her daughter, she is not about to be dissuaded. When Jesus first refuses her request in proverbial form, she responds to him in a similar fashion.
The Canaanite woman was a person of uncommon faith. The narrative is very clear on that point. And it is that faith that brings Jesus to accede to her request. Much of the Western world today champions reason over faith. Governments consider faith obsolete. Religious practice, prayer, and observance are dismissed as medieval holdovers. Those who do believe must not waver in their conviction. Every time that faith has been challenged in history, it returns with greater vigor.

Points to Ponder
The Lord’s forgiveness of Israel
The persistence of the Canaanite woman
Faith the cornerstone of our life

– That there may be room in the universal Church for the cultural riches of various peoples and for manifesting one and the same faith in a variety of languages and forms of expression, we pray:
– That we may have open hearts and homes for people who are hard to accommodate: strangers and refugees, the jobless and the poor, victims of discrimination and oppression; that we may do all we can to integrate them into the human and Christians community, we pray:
That all of us here may be concerned about those who are not here because they are estranged from the Church, that our lives may reveal Christ to them, we pray:

Prayer over the Gifts

Lord God, Father of all,
you set the table of your Son
for all who are willing to come:
for saints and for sinners,
for the poor and the rich.
Give us your Son Jesus Christ.
May we learn from him
to give to all those who ask for food or love
not meager crumbs or leftovers
but the food of ourselves,
as Jesus does here for us,
he who is our Lord for ever.

Prayer after Communion
God our Father,
in this Eucharist we have all been one
in Jesus Christ your Son.
He died and rose to life for all;
his likeness is reflected
in the face of every human being:
let it become visible in all.
Let his face not be marred or divided
by our prejudices and fears.
Do not allow our love to be less than universal,
and unite us more in him
who is our common way to you and to one another,
Jesus Christ our Lord.

Music from one instrument can be beautiful, but the most beautiful form is found in the harmony of many different instruments together in one symphony, or many human voices blending in one chorus. May God give us the symphony and chorus of many cultures and peoples together, with the blessing of almighty God, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.