-Last Sunday's homily is available by email
-This Sunday's Scriptures can be found at USCCB.org
-I will be celebrating mass this weekend at 5:30 Sat., 8:00am, and 6:00pm Sunday
Everybody is encouraged to exercise. Especially those who are preparing for a big contest. Practice or conditioning is what we might call that. So what all of these things are is an "exertion" of energy, effort, and discipline that apparently "doesn't count". It's like a pre-season or scrimmage game - it's a lot of work but it doesn't really count.
All of these physical exertions are difficult but not real, they are not the "game" but they are essential to the game.
Apparaently, Jesus was putting this syro-phoenitian women through a bit of "testing", a scrimmage, an exercise that not only revealed her faith but it deepened her faith.
Do we ever experience confusing challenges to our life plan as the preparation for the real game? I think I have had this experience....I was led into a challenging situation in life and ministry for no apparent reason. In fact, it felt almost "unreal" at the time. I really couldn't understand why this particular thing was happening to me and why I was enduring this challenge. But I hung in there.
Then, years later, I encountered something very real that required the precise grace, skill, wisdom, perseverance, etc. that I had gained in the earlier testing. It was then that I realized the good God at work in me "back then" Who was responsible for the success or perseverance now.
I think that's what the daily dying to self involved in spiritual discipline and devotion does in our faith lives. Like the treadmill everyday - I can often times "feel" as if I'm going through a repetitive and disconnected exercise - only to discover that it was precisely the preparation I needed for the real struggles in life.