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August 18th, 20st Sunday in Ordinary Time Mt 15/21-28
Catholic Homilies
August 18th, 2002

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20th Sunday in Ordinary Time Mt 15/21-28

Background:

Today's story has a heavy theological overlay. It addresses directly an issue which is no longer with us; whether there was room in the church for gentiles and indirectly a question which will always be with us, the problem of diversity. The story is vivid enough that we have no solid reason to doubt that Jesus did perform a healing for a gentile woman. However it is unlikely that the dialogue occurred the way it is written. Probably the author of the Gospel wanted to make the point that faith was not limited to Jews, but gentiles had it too. The lesson for us is that we cannot draw lines which set borders to God's love.

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00spc.gif (820 bytes) Story:

Once upon a time a certain family moved into a neighborhood. They were dark skinned and mysterious. They had four or five children, no one was sure how many, and they kept to themselves. The spoke English some of the time, but more often people heard them speaking a strange foreign language with a lot of breathing sounds tossed in. The word spread around the neighborhood that they were Arabs and from Iraq. Well, there goes the neighborhood. Who wants to live in a neighborhood with Iraqi Arabs. They were probably spies for Sadaam Hussein. They obviously had a lot of money because one of their cars was a Mercedes and the other a Lexus; and the mother and the daughters dressed in chic current fashions, over-dressed the other women in the neighborhood said. Sometimes they had parties at which a lot of very suspicious characters appeared, many of them looking like they might be carrying bombs in their suit cases, except they didn't have suitcases. The rumor spread in the neighborhood that they were either oil millionaires or terrorists, and maybe both. Finally someone called the FBI and reported them. We know about them said the FBI and we're watching them. The neighborhood set up a watch. Cars patrolled the street outside their house every night. Finally when school began, didn't three of their dark-skinned kids show up at the door of the Catholic school and weren't they admitted just like everyone else. A delegation waited on the parish priest and said how come you're letting those Iraqi-Arabs into our school? It's not for Muslims or anyone else, only for Catholics. Oh, they're Catholics all right. Their family has been Catholic for maybe fifteen hundred years. They were Nestorians or something like that but now they're Catholic. They go to mass at one of their own churches, but they don't have a school down there. Their pastor called and asked me if we could make room for them, so of course we did. The people left the rectory grumbling, who ever heard of Arab Catholics.

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The people left the rectory grumbling, who ever heard of Arab Catholics
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