CELEBRATED BY ARCHBISHOP DENIS HART AT
ST PATRICK’S CATHEDRAL, MELBOURNE, ON
AUGUST, 2014, AT 11.00 A.M.
Dear Brothers and
Today’s Gospel is the only occasion
when Jesus was ever outside of Palestine and outside Jewish territory. For us it is the reminder that the Gospel is
to go out to the whole world and we are caught up in its proclamation.
In an increasingly hostile and secular
society we have to remember to be courageous and generous in carrying the
Lord’s Word forward.
Wherever Jesus went the crowds would
follow him. He needed to escape from the
danger of popularity. Jesus is seeking a
time of quiet before the turmoil at the end of his life. He prepares himself for the final and
decisive battle with evil, which would lead to his crucifixion.
Even in this remote place the woman
comes, “Sir, Son of David, take pity on me.”
At first Jesus says nothing, then he rebuffs her, suggesting it is not
proper to give food to the dogs. Her
persistence brought his final reply, “Woman you have great faith. Let your wish be granted.”
Today we are challenged to see in the
woman some vital encouragements to our faith.
and foremost she had love. In her heart
there was the love for her child, which is always the reflection of God’s love
for us. It was love which made her
approach this stranger, accept his silence, suffer rebuffs and still appeal.
the woman had faith which grew in contact with Jesus. She called him first, Son of David, then
later she called him, Lord. We can see
this woman’s faith growing as she is confronted with Christ until she saw him
for what he was. It was a faith which
worshipped him as God. Whenever we come
to Jesus we must come first in adoration of his majesty and only then with the
statement of our own need.
the woman had indomitable persistence.
She prayed and never gave up. She
came because Jesus was not just a possible helper; she was his only hope. She was in deadly earnest, prayer was not
just a ritual form for her, it was the outpouring of a passionate desire. She could not take no for an answer. This reminds us of how too we must pray.
woman had a gift of cheerfulness, a faith in whose eyes there is always the
light of hope, a faith which grew until it worshipped at God’s feet, a faith
which could not help finding an answer to prayer.
comes to us as the great healer and as we seek to draw close to him, let us
remember that prayer must be the vital constant in our life because it is the
words and deeds of our friendship with God and of our ability to
grow in his life.
+ Denis J. Hart,
ARCHBISHOP OF MELBOURNE.