A Message from Fr. Jay
One thing I really love about our parish is the great vibe you get when entering the Church – “All Are Welcome.” The current world, more than ever before, increasingly suffers from the ‘fear of other’ and exclusivism. When I came to the United States 9 years ago, the immigration status I was categorized into was “Alien”. When I read that in my documents, I immediately thought of Hollywood movies about aliens and their zombie look. I had to verify my own face in the mirror!
The readings this week talk about the Jews (the chosen ones) and foreigners (the Gentiles).
In the first reading, God, Yahweh, breaks open the exclusive minds of the Jews and invites all foreigners to offer sacrifices on His altar.
In the Gospel, Jesus, the Son of God, breaks open the minds of the Jews (particularly his disciples) by healing the daughter of a Canaanite woman. A Canaanite refers not only to a Gentile, but to any slave working for Jews, as well. It’s always a difficult passage to understand. This could be considered as a ‘hate speech’ in today’s context, especially the rude language of Jesus with the Canaanite woman. Read the final words of Jesus chiding away his disciples and the Jews when he says, “O woman great is your faith”. He uses harsh words not to offend her but make us understand the hardness of the minds of the Jews in Jesus time!
As a result, another Jew in the second reading, St. Paul, very gladly claims himself as ‘the Apostle to the Gentiles’ and tries to make a bridge between the Gentiles and Jews.
- We all have only one God.
- We all have only one world.
- We all have only one Church
- And we are proud to be part of it!
Let our lives, minds and souls come together to make bridges for an inclusive humanity.
During this week, would I be able to practice at least one gesture of inclusiveness in my prayers and actions?
Fr. Jay Raju