20th Sunday in Ordinary Time (August 20, 2017)

Today’s Scriptures call us to reflect on the greatness of God’s merciful love.

St. Paul reminds us that God desires to be merciful to all – no one will be excluded. Paul knows that God’s call to the Jews is irrevocable. He suspects there is irony in the working out of God’s plan.

When the Jews did not accept Jesus, this opened the way to preach the Good News to the Gentiles. God’s mercy desires to reconcile the whole world to himself – even his chosen people. The unfolding of God’s plan of mercy will reveal the greatness and faithfulness of God’s love.

The Samaritan woman in today’s Gospel is one example. Her simple plea – “Lord, help me” – reveals her faith in Jesus. Her persistence in faith is met by Jesus’ merciful response: “Your faith is great! Let it be done for you as you wish.”

God never refuses humble love.

What are we to learn from today’s readings? The obvious lesson is the wideness of God’s mercy. As individual Christians and as a community of faith, we must be welcoming to all. Our God tells us: my house shall be called a house of prayer for all people. It’s too easy for us to be satisfied with ourselves and forget that God’s calls us to open our minds and our hearts to all the people around us, inviting them to join with us in faith and love.

God desires us to build up a community of faith and love, a community that reaches out with divine mercy – a mercy that knows no limits or partiality.

We are not to make the decision who will/will not will benefit from God’s mercy. God wants everyone to experience it through you and me.

Let us be humble and persistent in our faith and welcome all our brothers and sisters in love.