Dear brothers and sisters in Jesus,
Today’s Gospel Reading (20th Sunday) of Mathew relates how the Canaanite woman, a non-Jew, wins healing for her daughter by showing Jesus her faith in Him. But, apart from this, what is the Church trying to say to us by highlighting the dialogue that Jesus had with the Canaanite woman? – one may ask. Well, the Gospel Reading, like First Reading which prophesies an invitation to all humanity to the Lord’s mountain, focuses on the Universality of Salvation. The same theme is sounded in today’s Second Reading, as well.
Therefore all the three readings of today remind us of the great Catholic doctrine of the universality of salvation. It is all about inclusion, the call to One Church, to One Kingdom, a kingdom that refuses to exclude those seeking God. Indeed, our historic Roman Church founded by Jesus on Peter and the Apostles is described as Catholic precisely because it is by nature universal. “Catholic” derives from a Greek word meaning “universal.” We know that Christ calls all people to salvation through his Church because divine Revelation says so. As Catholics we reaffirm this doctrine at every Holy Mass when, as the priest repeats Jesus’ words over the chalice of wine, he says: “It (Christ’s Precious Blood) will be shed for you and for ALL so that sins may be forgiven.
In spite of this, down the centuries there have been attempts on the part of self-styled Christians to narrow the scope of Jesus’ saving mission. However, the Church has consistently condemned these attempts as heretical. An example of this attempt would be the view of “predestination” held by Calvinists according to which God chooses only a certain portion of mankind for salvation, while the others he rejects.
Dear brothers and sisters, let us be watchful so that we may not be led astray by any doctrine that goes against the Catholic concept of the universality of salvation. As Catholics we believe that Christ came to save all people. All people therefore are saved in principle. “In principle,” we say, because Christ’s saving will must be realized in each and every individual. While God’s desire to save all persons is irrevocable, yet it has to be freely ratified in love by every person blessed by it.
Let us thank the Lord Jesus who has made our salvation possible and at the same time let each one of us ratify it by having true faith in Jesus Our Lord & Saviour and by doing acts of mercy and charity. God bless us all.
Have a wonderful summer of August!