God’s all-emcompassing love
20th Sunday in Ordinary time, Year A (Matt 15:21-28)
August 20, 2017
By Fr. Sal Putzu, SDB
GOD is “Father”–Father to all human beings. And He wants all of them to attain the aim for which they were created: eternal life with Him. (See 1 Tim 2:4.) Unfortunately, however, sin has been a disruptive factor in human history. God’s plan to bring all men to eternal happiness has become a “rescue plan,” and the execution of His plan of salvation has to be actualized by stages.
In the divine plan, there exists a “core group,” the people of Israel, for whom God cared in a special manner, because it was from them that the Savior of mankind would come. But the formal offer of salvation to all other peoples was to take place only through the Church, founded by Christ and guided and enlivened by the Holy Spirit.
This same Holy Spirit, however, has always been at work even among the pagans, gradually directing them to yearn for the salvation that comes from Christ. In ways known to Him alone, the Spirit has led every individual and every nation, through the meanders of history, toward the fulfillment of the Divine Plan. In the mysterious interplay of human freedom and divine grace, of man’s errors and God’s saving interventions, we witness the unfolding of the design of an all-encompassing love conceived by divine Wisdom and actualized at the proper time.
Today’s Gospel passage verifies this truth as it conveys in a dramatic way the wonderful message that God loves all. His salvation does not exclude anyone, though its concrete actualization may have “stages” that do not always coincide with our expectations. But, in the end, the great truth shines forth: for those who love God and trust in Him, everything works out for their greater good – (see Rom 8:28) – everything, including illness and suffering!
The immediate need that brings them to Him may be their need to be healed from a grave illness, or a demonic possession, as we hear in today’s Gospel. But what brings these people to Jesus is something deeper than the immediate need: it is FAITH–the firm conviction that God is at work in Jesus of Nazareth, and that he can grant the salvation they need.
Indeed, God’s redeeming love knows no frontiers, and faith is the “bridge” that enables us to reach out to Him and be saved by His love.