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A Test of Faith

Homily for Wednesday of the 18th Week in Ordinary Time

If you think back to your school days, I am sure that most of us would have had the same common experience when it comes to the question of tests. Nobody really likes them. While learning experiences are usually pleasurable, the days when we had to show what we had learned through exams and tests were not.

The Gospel for today presents a Jesus that seems out of character. Various commentaries offer a variety of opinions about why Jesus seems to react negatively to the request of the Canaanite woman. Because Jesus does eventually do as the woman asks and heals her daughter, it may be that Jesus is simply testing her faith. Tests of faith are just as unpleasant as mathematics tests. However, just as tests and exams are part and parcel of the educational experience in our schools and universities, tests of faith are a part of our faith life as well.

In the reading from the prophet Jeremiah that we heard this morning, the final verse speaks of the remnant of Israel. The best definition of that term is found in the people who have remained faithful to God through all of the tests of faith that are part of everyone’s life. We are asked to place our trust in God’s care for us, in God’s love for us. Those who persevere in God’s love, just as the Canaanite woman persevered in her prayer for Jesus to heal her daughter, are the remnant.

So we persevere in our prayer, asking God to fill our needs and to heal our illnesses. Jesus is our model in prayer, for he asks us to carry our cross with him as his disciples.

Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M., Administrator

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