for My house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.
Thank you for joining today as we continue our Ordinary Time journey focused on listening to, obeying, and witnessing to Jesus.
You may recall St. Paul’s famous line in his letter to the Church at Rome, If God is for us, who is against us? (Romans 8:31). It is a comforting and reassuring statement founded upon deep faith.
If we read the fuller context in Romans 8 we see an excellent description of what it means to live in Jesus. Faith frees us from condemnation, from the law of sin and death. Faith has us alive in the Spirit, no longer in the flesh. We are no longer bound or held down. We have life and peace. We are sons and daughters. Eternal life is ours. Glory awaits us.
There is so much more, I urge you to read Romans 8 this week and to read it slowly. Savor what we have and what awaits us.
The question comes down to – who is us? If God is for us, who is against us?
Our first reading from Isaiah sets forth a vision and a promise concerning The foreigners who join themselves to the LORD.
We all were strangers once, outsiders, dwelling in the realm of the world, but once we set that old way aside and step on that first rung of the ladder to heaven, when we come into the Church, we are set apart in a new life based on faith. As we enter through waters of baptism we rise to new life, Kingdom life. This is what Paul is speaking about in our Epistle from Romans 11. We have all been given an opportunity to enter. Remembering that helps us in being open to all who might enter as well.
We must be very careful, brothers and sisters, about this entering thing, about this us thing. The care we need to exercise and the inclusion we practice must be that of Jesus who includes based on faith alone.
The story of the Canaanite woman is a faith test story. Jesus’ initial rejection of her teaches a lesson about us and who is part of us. We are to welcome all into us based only on faith experienced in togetherness and fellowship.
Our faith and likeness to Jesus is constantly tested, especially when we encounter unexpected people. The woman’s example – and the provision of Jesus’ grace depend on our having open hearts and willingness to work with all as they approach God in faith.