English Español Mary Immaculate
Catholic Church / Pacoima, CA

Humility in Prayer

Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Jesus replied, “It’s not right to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.” She said, “You’re right, Lord. But even the dogs eat scraps that fall from their masters’ tables.” Then Jesus answered her, “Woman, you have strong faith! What you wanted will be done for you.” At that moment her daughter was cured. (Mt 15: 26-28)

The Gospel this week gives us the example of a woman who asked Jesus to heal her daughter. Although the Lord strangely tested her faith—He compared her to a dog, she did not respond with anger and continued to insist humbly. This humility was what opened Jesus’ heart and obtained the miracle. We are, then, before an example of how our prayers should be: persistent and humble.


We frequently ask God for things, after a while – sometimes even a little while – we stop asking; at the end it is that they didn’t really matter much to us. We also frequently, more than ask we demand; we behave before God not as before the Lord but as before a servant. We treat God as if He were at our service and as if His principal obligations were to satisfy our desires. Without humility, prayer is impossible, including that of asking. He who is humble knows that what he asks for is a gift, something which he does not have a right to and, as such, doesn’t get angry if he doesn’t get it. If it is given, then one should be grateful; if you do not, accept the mystery and be grateful for all the other wonderful things that God has given. If we ask in this way, surely we will be given more and, in any case, what we do not receive it will not be reason for a crisis of faith, as it happens to those who withdraw from God when He doesn’t give them what they ask for.

Intention: Analyze well what we need to ask for, insist on it. And then ask humbly, telling the Lord that we are not going to stray from His side if it is not granted.

Called to Act in God’s Name

“Let all the nations praise you!” (Psalm 67:4) today’s psalm response exclaims. In the psalms and other Hebrew scriptures, this kind of invocation is actually an invitation to God to act, to intervene in human lives in a manner that will cause everyone—not just the Chosen People—to give praise. Stated a bit more strongly, it is something of a “put up or shut up” challenge to God, the sort of strong statement the psalmists of Israel, trusting in their intimate and loving relationship with God, were not afraid to make. The Gospel has its own exclamation, announcing the appearance of the Canaanite woman with “Behold!” (Matthew 15:22) “Behold!” is a scriptural flag that tells us that God is about to act or announce something through an individual or a situation. In the case of Jesus, God was going to act through this woman, whom nobody among Jesus’ followers would have believed to be an agent of the divine will. Like the psalmists, we might passively inform or perhaps even actively challenge God to do something so that everyone will come to believe, but God will always turn the tables on us. It becomes our calling, our duty (as it was for Jesus) to behold the situations and persons of our daily lives so that God can act through us, so the Kingdom can be announced through our living.

Living God’s Word

The Canaanite woman seems to convert Jesus by expressing faith in him and faith in herself. How might you express your faith in God, in others, and in yourself? How might God use your faith to convert others?

View Sunday Readings

Readings for the Week

Monday: Ez 24:15-24; Dt 32:18-21; Mt 19:16-22
Tuesday: Ez 28:1-10; Dt 32:26-28, 30, 35cd-36ab; Mt 19:23-30
Wednesday: Ez 34:1-11; Ps 23 (22):1-6; Mt 20:1-16
Thursday: Ez 36:23-28; Ps 51 (50):12-15, 18-19; Mt 22:1-14
Friday: Ez 37:1-14; Ps 107 (106):2-9; Mt 22:34-40
Saturday: Ez 43:1-7a; Ps 85 (84):9ab, 10-14; Mt 23:1-12
Sunday: Is 22:19-23; Ps 138 (137):1-3, 6, 8; Rom 11:33-36; Mt 16:13-20

Saints & Special Observances

Sunday: Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Tuesday: St. John Eudes
Wednesday: St. Bernard
Thursday: St. Pius X
Friday: Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Saturday: St. Rose of Lima; Blessed Virgin Mary

Towards the Fifth Dogma

For years now, a popular movement, supported by some cardinals and theologians, is requesting the Pope to proclaim a fifth Marian dogma, that of considering Mary as a Co-redeemer, along with her Son, the redeemer of Humanity, and as a mediator of all graces, also along with her Son, the mediator, by excellence, between God and man. This dogma is not so much to seek to exalt our Mother –who does not need this—but rather to do justice to her work as an intercessor and make such labor obvious. Additionally, it would serve to show a road of imitation already contained in St. Paul, when he affirmed: “fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions” (Col 1.24). In this way, all Catholics would understand more clearly that our sufferings, united to those of Christ in the Eucharistic sacrifice, are useful and may be offered to God for the good of man, especially for the good of our family and friends. In doing so, we fulfill the practice of the “true ministry” or “common ministry” of the faithful, that we received through Baptism. Acquiring its full meaning, the symbol that the priest performs on the altar, before the Offertory, places a drop of water in the wine which he has placed in the chalice and will later be consecrated. This drop of water symbolizes our suffering, our co-redeeming mediation, our collaboration in the work of redemption carried out by Christ. Thus, if this can be said of any of us, could it not be more with greater intensity of the Blessed Virgin? And if it is asserted of her, with the solemnity of a dogma, it will be even clearer that this a road that all Catholics must follow. In this way, many who run from pain considering it to be useless, may understand that, though there is pain that should be avoided –by going to the doctor, for example—there is pain that is inevitable and that is truly valuable, since it may serve to redeem those we love, as long as we are united with Christ, true and sole Redeemer. Franciscans of Mary therefore adhere ourselves to the long list of those requesting the Pope to proclaim this fifth Marian dogma, though we know that the proclamation of a dogma is a slow process requiring many years of study.

Purpose: Put into practice what is requested in the fifth dogma: Offer Christ our suffering for the conversion of our family and friends to become co-redeemers.