The XX Sunday of ordinary time presents to us the great faith of a pagan woman, who shows her great trust, since Jesus is all for her. The good heart of the human being always searches for God, and in Jesus God answers to our needs and our longings. This woman is not a Jew, she does not have the religious knowledge of the children of Abraham, but she has heard of Jesus, she knows who he is, of his compassion, of his love toward the poor and marginalized. That is the reason why without any doubt she shouts: "Lord son of David, have mercy on me." And while facing obstacles, she answers with deep faith in God’s love.
This is the reason why in the following Sunday we are going to hear the question Jesus himself asks his disciples: Who do the people say that I am? For you, who am I? Today the most important question is: Who is Jesus for you? What does he mean for your life? What place does he have in your heart, in your decisions?
Through the new evangelization, the church asks us to ask ourselves these questions, to move from a religion based on traditions, norms, customs and compliance to a personalized faith that constantly answers the questions: Who is Jesus in your life? What is your relationship and commitment with him? Are you his disciples? Are you in the process of growth in your faith? Are you aware of the teachings of this great Master and struggling to live them daily? Do you feel called to witness and announce this faith to others? Are you a missionary disciple? Do you have trouble following Jesus? Today Jesus in the Gospel asks us these questions, and we have to answer with sincerity.
We can understand with greater depth these questions, when we reflect on what Jesus tells us the following Sunday: "If anyone wants to follow Me, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow Me." The Master tells us clearly that we do not follow him by an external compliance of norms and traditions, but by a personalized faith, by a commitment of life with him, which implies renunciation, denial, self-forgetfulness. Which leads us to embark on a path of love, service, forgiveness, simplicity; of sharing, of being compassionate, of helping the needy, having an honest heart, to put God above everything.
In this way, as we shall see on Sunday XXIII of ordinary time, we are warned of the danger of getting off the path so that it is not love but selfishness that guides our lives. In this situation, the community is called to correct us, using the criteria of the Lord, seeking the good of the person. Not humbling, not sinking, not acting rigorously, but as God does, with compassion, seeking to forgive, lift, heal, put back on the path. If the lost person does not want to change, the hope that God and life, at some point, touch their heart and return to the community will always be left open.
Salgado is a migrant minister for the Diocese of Rochester.