Commentary on the Gospel of
Do we have an amnesia problem as it relates to remembering all of God’s blessings throughout our life? Does that forgetfulness impact our faith? Does it define our faith? Do we even realize that this is an issue which demands our constant attention?
In today’s world of communication overload, we so easily forget what is of true significance. We seem to focus more on the challenges of today while missing out on the true source of peace and joy. We often take for granted that the creator of the universe walks with us each day through the good times and the bad, that he has always been with us and always will be – to the end of time. This fact is quite honestly more than I can truly comprehend. I am shocked at how often I worry about the problems of today instead of remembering the innumerable times throughout my life that Jesus has been there to carry me through one disaster after another. It certainly does seem that I am suffering from a severe case of amnesia. Fortunately, my inability to stay focused upon my Savior does not surprise God.
The years documented in the book of Numbers certainly confirm that God has seen this problem before. In today’s story of the people of Israel, following their escape from bondage in Egypt, we are provided with a shocking example of just how easy it is to forget God’s hand in our lives. Keep in mind that the Israelites had just witnessed one miracle after another, as God used a series of plagues against the Egyptians followed by the actual parting of a sea to orchestrate their miraculous escape. One would certainly think the people of Israel would have developed an unshakable trust in their Lord. But that was not the case. As their journey to the promised land continued, we find their faith waning, as they grumbled and complained about the lack of water and food. In each case, God came through for them, as he demonstrated over and over again that he was with them and that He loved them.
As the story continues, it was now time for the Israelites to enter the promised land, but why did God direct them to first select a leader from each tribe to go into the promised land for observation? One would think that their faith should have enabled them to ask, “why do we need to scout the land, God has already promised to give it to us?” Perhaps God was testing them to see if their faith had finally matured. Unfortunately, they once again failed this faith test. Upon returning from their exploration trip, they reported how the land was indeed flowing with milk and honey and filled with bountiful fruit – just as God had promised. If only that was all that they chose to report. Instead of seeing God, they also saw the world’s idea of power - well equipped armies with oversized soldiers. Some of these leaders came back afraid. Their faith was weak. They had already forgotten God’s ever-present role in their lives and had given in to fear. This time they paid a heavy price for turning their backs on God. This powerful message was given not only for the people of Israel at that point in history, but equally for us in our lives today. God is with us always; we can trust Him with all our heart, mind, and soul. We need not be afraid.
Today’s Psalm reminds us of this powerful story of the Israel people. It reinforces the fact that we can so easily forget the blessings our Lord and Father has showered upon us throughout our lives. It takes effort to keep our eyes focused upon Jesus each and every day, to walk out in confident faith.
Our Gospel provides a glimpse of the other side of that amnesia coin. It provides us with a simple solution – unshakable, mature faith. The Canaanite woman clearly recognized the power of Jesus, a power that could impact the life of her daughter. Even though she was not successful in her first attempt, she did not give up. Her unshakable faith clearly touched Jesus. Her story serves as a profound example for us today. The kind of faith we need to cling to, helping us to keep our focus upon our God who loves us and will always be with us.
Dear Heavenly Father, like your chosen people, we so often in our lives tend to forget all of your mercies. Our faith waivers. We fail to remember all the times where you have been there, comforting us and guiding us through our trials and tribulations. Forgive us, dear Father. Help us to strengthen our faith, to enable us to diligently keep our eyes on you and your plan for our lives. In the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.