Blessington.info
facebook
BYP
 

Sunday Mass Times in Blessington Parish
Blessington
Saturday Vigil 6.00pm
Sunday 10.00am 11.00am 7.30pm
Crosschapel
Sunday
12.00 noon
Manor Kilbride
Sunday
11.00am
Blessington Union of Parishes, Church of Ireland.
For information on Services for Blessington Union of Parishes please click here

Fr Kevin Lyon. Archdeacon of Glendalough.

GOSPEL:                                  Matthew 15:21-28

Jesus left Genenesaret and withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. Then out came a Canaanite woman from that district and started shouting, ‘Sir, Son of David, take pity on me. My daughter is tormented by a devil.’ But he answered her not a word. And his disciples went and pleaded with him. ‘Give her what she wants,’ they said ‘because she is shouting after us.’ He said in reply, ‘I was sent only to the lost sheep of the House of Israel’. But the woman had come up and was kneeling at his feet. ‘Lord,’ she said ‘help me.’ He replied, ‘It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the house-dogs’. She retorted, ‘Ah yes, sir; but even house-dogs can eat the scraps that fall from their master’s table’. Then Jesus answered her, ‘Woman, you have great faith. Let your wish be granted.’ And from that moment her daughter was well again.

The Gospel of the Lord.    

BUILD BRIDGES, NOT WALLS

In a tale told by Oscar Wilde, a giant was distressed by the fact that a group of children had taken to playing in his garden – a large and flowery place carpeted with plush green grass. But the giant did not appreciate their presence. So, in a tale that is very relevant in today’s world, the giant built a high wall around his garden and put up a sign that read ‘Trespassers will be prosecuted’. As time passed, and as the seasons changed, it was always winter in the giant’s garden, birds didn’t sing there anymore, no leaves came on the trees, only the north wind blew. The only thing the wall accomplished was to keep out every source of joy and assure the giant of his solitary sadness. To learn the surprising end to the story google ‘The Selfish Giant’ by Oscar Wilde. I mention this brief introduction because it sets a good backdrop against which to consider today’s readings which involve examples of racial and religious discrimination.

Take the first reading from Isaiah for instance, the Hebrews have finally returned from exile in Babylon only to find Gentiles (non-Jews) living in their beloved homeland. These ‘foreigners’ have been resettled in Palestine during the years of exile, resulting in a racially and religiously mixed culture. Isaiah imagines the possibility of Gentile sacrifices being acceptable to the God of Israel. In the letter to the Romans, Paul is troubled over the Jews’ rejection of Jesus as he knows that the promised Messiah has come for Jews and Gentiles alike. Paul grieves that the realisation of God’s inclusive love is being thwarted by his own people.

Then in today’s Gospel (Matt 15: 21-28) Jesus has travelled beyond the boundaries of Jewish life into a Gentile area. A Gentile woman comes to him, calling him ‘Son of David’ and pleading with him to help her daughter. Jesus’ disciples encourage him to turn her away, but after demonstrating the typical Jewish prejudice against Gentiles, he commends her faith and heals her daughter.

Here are three examples of the sad reality of discrimination. The fact is that we have never fully accepted God’s inclusive love – from childhood we retain our need to be Number One. Sibling rivalry is a classic example of the need to be, not only loved, but exclusively loved. As adults we do not lose these feelings entirely and unfortunately we often transfer this infantile insecurity to our relationship with God. To discover God’s unconditional love is wonderful, but to experience God’s mercy is transforming. We never entirely lose our desire to be somehow closer to God, or closer to the truth, than someone else. We may therefore think of people of other religions, or, with unusual values, as living outside God’s love and care.

According to biblical witness, God sees a world without religious conflicts, without racial prejudice, without hatred and discrimination. The most sublime hope imaginable and the recurring hope of the scriptures, is that God’s children and all peoples, will one day live in perfect harmony and true peace. Jews and Gentiles will worship God together, Christians and Jews will gather around the throne of God, human boundaries, all walls and fences will be no more.

                          
Fr. Kevin Lyon
Archdeacon of Glendalough