Peace and grace to you!
This weekend Jesus took his disciples with him on a vacation from their usual ministerial activities. The region of Tyre and Sidon would have been a place where they would have been noticed as Jews but the people of the region would not have known anything beyond that.
I remember my Clinical Pastoral Education summer in Denver Colorado at St. Anthony Hospital. I had been to Denver plenty of times for visiting or various activities but never for an extended stay. The course that I was taking was specialized and focused and I was an unknown to the instructors and other students. I had made previous arrangements to stay at a near-by parish: Our Lady of Fatima. The Pastor, Walker Nicholas, who is now the Bishop of Sioux Falls would frequently say to me: “there is no vacation from a vocation.”
I think that is what Jesus is showing the disciples and all of us today. No matter where we are or what we are doing, as disciples we have an order of priority that places God first and witnessing to our faith by being responsive to other people. It isn’t just at Church on the weekends; it must be true in our homes and everywhere we go—even on vacation!
To many, Jesus’ first response to the woman seems hard, like he is rejecting her. This isn’t the Jesus we are accustomed to so it catches us off guard. Perhaps Jesus is expressing the inner disposition of his disciples toward this non-Jewish woman. But as the story unfolds, it becomes clear that Jesus is challenging the woman in order to bring about in her a stronger, more certain faith in him and in God’s love and care for her.
As we go about our summer break or on vacation, watch for the moments when Jesus calls us to grow deeper in our expression of faith and act as his disciples. We can’t compartmentalize. It all has to flow from the one inner connection we have with Jesus.
God bless you always! +++ Fr. Peter