Through the Prophet Isaiah God said, “My house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.” (First Reading) Even though the Jews, the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, were the “chosen people,” they came to understand that their God was the only God in the entire universe and that he desired all peoples to come to know him. In today’s Gospel Jesus responds to a Canaanite woman who is persistent in pleading on her daughter’s behalf. She was a descendant of the original inhabitants of the land in which the Jews were living, but now geographically and religiously separate. She demonstrates more faith in Jesus than many of his own people did. She foreshadows the reception of the gospel among the Gentiles. In the Second Reading Paul contemplates the mystery of his own people rejecting Jesus as Messiah while the Gentiles were accepting him. Disappointed in his fellow Jews, Paul leaves it up to the providence of God, who does not go back on his word. He believes that they will accept Jesus as the Christ someday and that it will begin a whole new glorious era—perhaps the final era—of human history. Because both Jews and Gentiles have a history of disobedience, neither should look down upon the other in judgment. We all depend upon the gracious mercy of God.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 1260, explains the Catholic teaching that God, who has redeemed all mankind by Jesus’ death and resurrection, offers the gift of salvation to all. Quoting from the Second Vatican Council’s “Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World,” Gaudium et Spes, the Catechism states:
“Since Christ died for all [redemption], and since all men are in fact called to one and the same destiny [salvation], which is divine, we must hold that the Holy Spirit offers to all the possibility of being made partakers, in a way known to God, of the Paschal mystery.” [GS 22, §5] Every man who is ignorant of the Gospel of Christ and of his Church, but seeks the truth and does the will of God in accordance with his understanding of it, can be saved.
This means that no one is beyond the pale of God’s love, which is infinite. Even those who may not know him as the one true God are still his creatures, his children by adoption and the beneficiaries of his free gift of salvation. Blessed be God!
This past Saturday, August 15, we celebrated the solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, commemorated also in the Fourth Glorious Mystery of the Rosary. Next Saturday, August 22, is the Memorial of the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary, commemorated in the Fifth Glorious Mystery of the Rosary. It seems only fitting that we not let this pass by unobserved, so we will celebrate a Mass at 8:30 AM at St. Charles on August 22.
Congratulations again to St. Peter Parish for celebrating over 150 years of Catholic education at St. Peter’s School, and 160 years as a parish. Thanks to all who participated in Saturday’s events. Saint Peter, pray for us!
Please pray the rosary again this week for good weather for the growing season and for protection from severe storms. Pray for the development of a covid-19 vaccine and, as always, pray for peace.
May God bless his people with peace.