Thursday, August 18, 2011

Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A

The Fathers of the Church on the Readings of the Lectionary

First Reading  Isaiah 56:1, 6–7
Second Reading  Romans 11:13–15, 29–32
Gospel  Matthew 15:21–28


St. John Chrysostom on Romans 11:32:
‎“For God hath concluded them all in unbelief,” that is, hath convinced them, hath shown them disobedient; not that they may remain in disobedience, but that He may save the one by the captiousness of the other, these by those and those by these. Now consider; ye were disobedient, and they were saved. Again, they have been disobedient, and ye have been saved. Yet ye have not been so saved as to be put away again, as the Jews were, but so as to draw them over through jealousy while ye abide. (Chrysostom, Hom. Rom. 19, NPNF1, vol. 11, pg. 493-494)

St. Augustine--The Canaanitish woman obtained mercy through humble confession:
‎‎Whence also He saith to that woman of Canaan, “O woman, great is thy faith; be it done unto thee as thou wilt;” (Mt 15:22-28) whom above He had called a dog, and had made answer that the bread of the sons was not to be cast to her. And this she taking with humility had said, “Even so, Lord; for the dogs also eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.” And thus what by continual crying she obtained not, by humble confession she earned. (Augustine, De sancta virgin. 32.32, NPNF1, vol. 3, pg. 428)

St. Augustine on the humility of the Canaanitish woman:
‎See, Brethren, how the value of humility is set before us! The Lord had called her a dog; and she did not say, “I am not,” but she said, “I am.” And because she acknowledged herself to be a dog, immediately the Lord said, “Woman, great is thy faith; be it unto thee even as thou hast asked.”35 Thou hast acknowledged thyself to be a dog, I now acknowledge thee to be of human kind. “O woman, great is thy faith;” thou hast asked, and sought, and knocked; receive, find, be it opened unto thee. See, Brethren, how in this woman who was a Canaanite, that is, who came from among the Gentiles, and was a type, that is a figure, of the Church, the grace of humility has been eminently set before us. (Augustine, Serm. 77.7.11, NPNF1, vol. 6, pg. 345)

St. John Chrysostom--the Lord puts the Canaanite woman off in order to draw out her faith:
‎‎With this intent did Christ put her off, for He knew she would say this; for this did He deny the grant, that He might exhibit her high self-command.
‎‎For if He had not meant to give, neither would He have given afterwards, nor would He have stopped her mouth again. But as He doth in the case of the centurion, saying, “I will come and heal him,” (Mt 8:7) that we might learn the godly fear of that man, and might hear him say, “I am not worthy that Thou shouldest come under my roof;” (Mt 8:8) and as He doth in the case of her that had the issue of blood, saying, “I perceive that virtue hath gone out of me,” (Lk 8:46) that He might make her faith manifest; and as in the case of the Samaritan woman, that He might show how not even upon reproof she desists: (Jn 4:18) so also here, He would not that so great virtue in the woman should be hid. Not in insult then were His words spoken, but calling her forth, and revealing the treasure laid up in her. (Chyrosostom, Hom. Mt. 52.3, NPNF1, vol. 10, pg. 322-323)

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