Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time 8/15-8/16
Just a little over a year ago, my niece Rena and her high school friends came to St. John’s on a weekend to collect money in support of those burdened with mental illness. They did so urged by the recent suicide attempt of one of their classmates. The result was one of the strongest ancillary collections we have had here, an obvious response to the fact that mental illness is not merely our neighbor’s concern but in fact affects people right in our own families and friendships. The daughter of the Canaanite woman described in the gospel passage from Matthew offered for our consideration this weekend is painted as being tormented by a demon, a situation which, given greater knowledge, we can surmise might be some sort of mental illness. The mother is frantic but at first Jesus is hesitant to respond for some reason. The woman persists with her request and even bows before Jesus as a sign of reverence. Jesus, as in other places in the gospels, acquiesces to her persistent request and announces that “great is her faith”. The woman’s daughter was healed “from that hour”.
The story is a reminder to us of our need for persistent prayer in matters of both mental and physical illness. While we first rely on medical expertise and application in such cases, we who believe also must approach God and be persistent in doing so. We believe in the healing power of prayer and faith as it is described in this gospel. The mother whose daughter is ill will not give up and offers a lesson to all of us who are grateful for the gift of faith. Our website offers an opportunity to pray for those who are seriously ill in the section called “Prayer Corner”. Please consider spending a few moments there in prayer for the young people who sadly are dealing with major health concerns. We continue to pray for all those who are sick at each Mass celebrated at Saint John’s and if you have a request for such, simply call or stop by and make the request. We are all the Canaanite mother at some point in our lives and we take her example with gratitude.
Our gratitude extends to those who continue to give and with generosity so that our parish might stay strong in this difficult time. We thank those who have been able to give large gifts to compensate for those who find such gifts difficult. We urge you to use Online Giving as your chosen method of gift to the parish. If you have difficulty with such, simply call the parish office and someone will help you. You are reminded as well to use your envelopes if you give at Mass or by mail. It will guarantee that your gift will be recorded for tax purposes. We congratulate all those who were confirmed on Friday evening and we thank Fr. Brian McHugh from Saint Catherine’s, our episcopal vicar, for coming to offer the sacrament. The names of those who were confirmed are listed in this publication.
Thanks to Maureen Megnia, Louise Dussault and Patrick O’Neil those who made the event possible. Thanks to all those who continue to drop off nonperishable food items for distribution to those who have less. Make your donation at any time on the back porch of the Rectory. Please do NOT drop off any items for the Christmas Fair as it will not be possible to have such this year. Thanks and have a great week!
God Bless, Fr. Joe