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Reflection on the 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted on August 16, 2020, by Maria Visse SL

I must admit that the preparation of this homily comes at a very mind-disturbing time.  How to keep concentrated on a Gospel text when the United States of America is faced with the challenge of acknowledging the social and economic inequalities that have been so highlighted by  COVID-19 and the lack of leadership in confronting the virus.  And the social virus of racism.

Conflict, times of conflict, ever present it would seem. 

In the beginning, Jesus communities that had come together, attracted by the teachings of Jesus were, at the same time, people who continued to live within the daily practices of the Jewish faith.  But this was changing.

 More and more the teachings of Jesus had attracted non-Jewish followers. This was the beginning of a gradual separation from Judaism. Moving away from a deep felt sense of tradition,  a Jewish tradition.  So I think of Matthew (whoever that may have been) as a faithful Jew participating in the Jesus community, now a community of Jew and Gentile. There were many conflicts but the followers of Jesus continued  gathering together to hear and share the teachings of Jesus. This gathering, praying and doing good works is what  kept the community growing.

When I think about the Gospels, about the life of Jesus, about the long-term impact of the group of disciples that — kept his spirit alive.

  When I looked at the readings for today’s liturgy I felt I could share in the desperation of the Canaanite women’s plea for help. I hear the anguish in the woman’s voice because I am in a similar situation. I know that something has to change, to heal. It won’t happen as quickly as happened in the Gospel, but I can follow this women’s example and be persistent.

How we each contribute to the efforts for change in the social, racial, economic, health and educational inequalities in our nation depends on our individual gifts of time and energy.  

I know that I can only persist in being persistent by joining with like- minded persistent people. I find this in the Loretto Community. We are a Community that is a visible, living example of diversity.  We can speak of the experience of holding close the value and  wisdom of traditions while, like those faithful Jews, opening to new insights into the life of the Community. 

(We must consider how to rouse each other to love and good deeds.  Heb. 10:244).

We continue our prayer and we ask that as we take Communion it will be a source of strength as we build community


Maria Visse SL

Maria, a member of the Sisters of Loretto since 1955, served as the Loretto Motherhouse Service Coordinator for many years. Among her many other works, she served as a labor and delivery nurse. In 2017, she and Kay Carlew SL spent a month in Ghana visiting with and observing the work of the Daughters of the Most Blessed Trinity, one of Loretto’s sister communities. A gifted singer and musician, Maria often may be found leading the congregation in song.