While thinking of this week’s message and reflecting on Sunday’s Gospel, Matthew 15:21-28, in which a Canaanite woman shouted at Jesus for him to have pity on her because her daughter was tormented by the devil, I recalled last week’s training that formed part of community organising for civil society and the Hunter Community Alliance.
This week in our Sunday Gospel reading, we have Jesus withdrawing to a lonely place after hearing of the violent death of his cousin John the Baptist. As I listened to these words, I imagined his grief and sadness, and just wanting to be alone.
I begin my message this week with the Collect prayer from the beginning of Mass on Sunday:
Show favour, O Lord, to your servants
and mercifully increase the gift of your grace,
that, made fervent in hope, faith and charity,
they may be ever watchful in keeping your commands.
During the past week, I attended an online Refugee Rally to demand freedom from detention, an activity conducted by the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC). It was a powerful show of solidarity from across the nation with at least 900 log-in participants, meaning that more than 1000 people attended.
For me, the readings for Mass on the weekend (the Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time) were about hospitality. In the reading from the Book of Kings (4:8-11, 14-16) we have a woman who recognises the prophet Elisha as a holy man, as she and her husband invite and welcome him to stay with them, as he travels past their home each year. In the Gospel from Matthew (10:37-42), Jesus is instructing on welcoming.