Marble Surface

August 16, 2020

Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time A

Fr. Ed Smith


 Isaiah 56:1, 6-7; Romans 11:13-15, 29-32; Matthew 15:21-28


 When we pray, what if it doesn’t seem that God is listening? Answering? Caring? “How many of us have prayed for something and felt that God was silent in His response? But does silence mean inattentiveness? Does it mean that God isn’t listening or doesn’t care? Let’s consider the Gospel for this weekend: A Canaanite woman cries out to Jesus that her daughter is “tormented by a demon.” And Jesus, who is usually so quick to respond to people in need, does not say a word in answer to her. So, she persists in her request that He help her. Jesus’ response is then uncharacteristically harsh sounding to this non-Israelite woman: “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel…It is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs.” It seems so dismissive, so ugly. But what is happening is actually quite wonderful: Jesus is teaching that woman to reach down to the depths of her soul and see Him through the eyes of humility and faith. At the outset, she sees him basically as a magical healer who should give her what she wants. But by the time Jesus is through with her she is a changed woman: a person who has come to faith. But that is not all. Jesus is also teaching His disciples who witness this event a great lesson. He shows that He responds to the needs of ALL God’s children, not just the people of Israel. Jesus, though at first apparently silent and even harsh, loves this woman enough to offer her a life of faith she never knew was possible, and allow her to grow into something new. She had to realize that this was an encounter with Love, not an entitled expectation from some magician who can cure the sick. Maybe the next time we pray for something and feel that all we get from God is silence, we might remember this remarkable woman, whose persistence, humility and faith opened her up to accepting Jesus as He is and receiving His gift of healing. Like her, we just might realize that, yes, God IS listening, and ready to give us more than we ever asked for or even imagined!

Saint Stephen Church 
3804 Eastern Avenue
Cincinnati, OH 45226

Parish Office: 513-871-3373

Rectory Phone: 513-871-0050

Canonical Pastor
Rev. Ed Smith
Resides at Our Lord Christ the King Church

Priests in Residence:
Rev. Thomas Fitzsimmons (retired)
Rev. Benjamin Asibuo Kusi (visiting)

Pastoral Administrator

Beth Worland 

Office: 513-871-3373

Mass Times 

  • Saturday 6:00pm

  • Sunday 10:15am

  • Monday, Tuesday, Thursday & Friday 9:30am

  • Wednesday 5:00pm

  • Holy Days: contact parish

© 2020 by St. Stephen Church.