Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time
MT 15:21-28

At that time Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. Just then a Canaanite woman from that region came out and started shouting, “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is tormented by a demon.” 

But he did not answer her at all. And his disciples came and urged him, saying, “Send her away, for she keeps shouting after us.” 

He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” 

But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.” 

He answered, “It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.” 

She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” 

Then Jesus answered her, “Woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.” And her daughter was healed instantly.
Gospel citations come from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright 1989, 1993, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Approved by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.


The daily Gospel reflections during this two-week Notre Dame Trail journey were prepared by pilgrims walking on the Trail. Today's reflection comes from Brother Larry Stewart, CSC.

Our high school track coach had a favorite slogan: “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” Four of us trained and competed as a relay team. We adopted that slogan as freshmen. As seniors, one of us always ran a personal best in his leg of either the 4x100 or 4x400 relay. We couldn’t be beaten. We were “tough”—confident that we would win.

The Canaanite woman could also be considered “tough”—she was a strong and determined person. She shouted at Jesus, “Have mercy on me, Lord, my daughter is tormented by a demon.” She ignored the apostles and pleaded, “Lord help me!” Jesus was reluctant because he was sent to the Israelites, but her comment that even dogs eat crumbs off the floor affected him. He exclaimed, “Woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.”

For those of us who are now pilgrims on the Notre Dame Trail, this experience has called out of us the same “tough” demeanor that the Canaanite woman displays in this Gospel. When we signed up for the Trail, we asked God, our Blessed Mother, and our patron saints to give us strength to perform this challenge. We are now half-way along in our pilgrimage—we started training months ago, and each morning we’ve risen to continue this adventure to reach Notre Dame. We have had doubts and prayed for daily strength—some of us have experienced God carrying us when we thought we’d reached our limit.

Whether we spend today on the Trail or journeying through our daily lives, let us follow the example of this “tough” Canaanite woman, who would not let anything stop her from approaching Jesus for healing and strength. May our words and actions today (and every day of our lives) prompt the Lord to likewise say to each of us, “Great is your faith!”

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Vincent Nguyen, CSC
Holy Cross Seminarian

“Lord, help me." God, all we have to do is call out for help and you are there. That can be hard to do, though, because we don’t want to admit that we need your assistance. But when we ask for your help, whatever troubles us becomes easier. Remind us to ask for your help. Amen.


St. Bernard, the honey-sweet doctor, you convinced 31 of your friends to enter the monastery with you--pray for us!