In some eras, the daily news is so bad it seems to eclipse the gospel’s good news. The people wring their hands or stare morosely at their screens and wonder if all hope is lost. A question, inarticulate perhaps but haunting, underlies their fear: Has God rejected us?

Paul deals such despairing doubt a swift, decisive blow: “By no means!” Paul’s conviction comes not in reaction to a string of faith-damaging events but in passionate response to the world-redeeming power of the risen Christ. Through the death and resurrection of the Anointed One, God fulfills the promise made to Israel and expands that promise to include all believers. All is Paul’s clear and universal term for both the Hebrew people of the covenant and their now equally summoned and saved Gentile neighbors.

By no means does the gospel’s all-welcoming reach terminate God’s commitment to Abraham and Sarah’s descendants, of whom Paul is one. Rather, Paul explains, Jews who do not follow Christ are nevertheless subject to mercy, which is the sign of gifts and a calling never to be revoked.

When injustice, violence, and suffering bring us to our knees and press us to wonder whether God’s back is turned, we can draw courage from the ancient, unbreakable bond between Israel and the Lord. Encouraged by eternal ties that bind, we can come closer to the One whose voice carries on in the hearts of all generations and nations, calling the people to faith. We can listen inwardly and know God is faithful always. We can recall the ways we have been helped by divine mercy and trust that it reaches through us and beyond us to liberate prisoners of disbelief and wrap even those who reject Jesus Christ in the blessed ties that bind all humankind to God.

Thank you, God, for embracing people of every time and place, for showing mercy to all, through Christ. Amen.

Rece las Escrituras usando Leccionario en Audio
Leer Matthew 15:10-28

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Leccionario Semanal
August 10–16, 2020
Resumen de la Escritura

Joseph has risen to a high position in Egypt, and now his brothers come searching for food in a time of famine. He reveals his true identity and reinterprets their evil intentions as being part of God’s plan. Sometimes we too are granted perspective to see God’s working in difficult times. The psalmist rejoices when God’s people are living in unity, as Joseph and his brothers were after their reunion. In Romans, Paul declares that his people are not rejected by the merciful God, for God’s promises are unchanging. In Matthew, Jesus teaches that God looks on the inside, not the outside. Thus, what you take into your body is less important than what comes from your heart, and God does not favor one ethnic group over another.

Preguntas para la reflexión

Read Genesis 45:1-15. When have you experienced God’s grace in forgiving or being forgiven? How were those needing forgiveness still held responsible for their actions?
Read Psalm 133. How has God called you to live in unity with those different from you? How do you receive God’s abundant blessing through such unity?
Read Romans 11:1-2a, 29-32. How does the eternal mercy of God’s gifts and callings sustain you when it seems like God has rejected God’s people?
Read Matthew 15:10-28. When have you, like the Canaanite woman, felt like you had to insist that Jesus come closer? How did your faith change or grow from this experience?

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