of Creighton University's Online Ministries
August 3rd, 2011
SPAHP and School of Pharmacy
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How very often we have heard in our fast paced culture “the only constant is change.” Not only is change constant, the pace is staggering. Phones and computers used to last several years… now it seems they are outdated before you get them home and figure out all that they can do. Several families who have moved into our neighborhood in the past year or two are moving out again. One neighbor has changed their pet three times in the past 6 months. Huh? Some things that never changed much in the past, like careers, spouses and religions, are swapped with increasing regularity. It is a great comfort to know that God doesn’t change, right? I learned as a child that God is “all powerful, all unknowing and unchanging.” The psalmist frequently addresses God as “my Rock;” solid, hard and unyielding. When I heard that description of God, I always imaged the rock of Gibraltar… massive and unmovable.
Today’s readings challenge that belief. It’s true that God’s essence is unchanging - like I am a person named Diane and I am never going to be a different person. I can change my name but that doesn’t change who I am. But maybe God can be moved as we hear in both readings.
In the first reading, God promises the land of Canaan to the Israelites. Their scouts spend 40 days investigating the territory and its people. They return with the news that the land is inhabited by giants and they could never survive a confrontation with them. When Aaron and Moses relay this message, God changes his mind about sending them there (and clearly is not happy about having to do so.)
The second reading is a very familiar story; a Canaanite woman begs for Jesus to cure her daughter. He refuses, insisting that his ministry is only for the Israelites, “it is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs.” But she persists and ultimately her quick reply, “even the dogs eat the scraps that fall from their master’s tables”, changes Jesus’ mind. We want to snicker and cheer at this… who doesn’t love a quick wit and a snappy comeback? But rather than turn the conversation to argument or verbal sparring, Jesus changes. He is open and receptive; humbly accepting that perhaps she is the wiser one; that his ministry is for all people, everywhere.
Jesus is a notable model for us....how open and receptive am I to the challenges of others… do I put up a quick defense? Can I be moved and changed by my interactions with others? More importantly, what about our relationship with God.... is God moved, and changed, through our relationship??
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