Wednesday, August 21, 2013


Are  angel’s deeds the stuff of legends, children’s bedtime tales, wishful thinking or the creation of illiterate, ancient minds? 
Not for our family; we have seen too many inexplicable events, multiplication and miracles
Man has closed his mind to theses messengers of God, guides and defenders so they wait idly for the modern Catholic to wake up to their existence. They sit like gold in a bank, useless unless we give them permission to act.

What are angels?
An angel is a pure spirit created by God. The Old Testament theology included the belief in angels: the name applied to certain spiritual beings or intelligences of heavenly residence, employed by God as the ministers of His will.
The English word “angel” comes from the Greek angelos, which means ‘messenger’. In the Old Testament, with two exceptions, the Hebrew word for “angel” is malak, also meaning ‘messenger’. The prophet Malachi took his name from this word. He was himself a messenger, and he prophesied about the coming of “the messenger of the covenant”, Jesus Christ (Malachi 3:1).
Some may never see with earthly eyes these heavenly beings or know that they exist. Many are unaware of the numerous ways they have protected and guided us. We would like to share with you the stories of people who take pleasure in expressing how real angels are.Psalm 8 is a Psalm in which the creation of the earth is extolled. Here we are told that man’s position is lower than the angels:
“What is man, that thou art mindful of him? … For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour.” (Psalm 8:4,5)

Don’t let  sweet angel pictures fool you. Angels are huge, powerful beings with the ability to perform great acts of strength. 
The phone call comes on a Saturday night.
I listen to the police in shocked silence.
“Your son has been in a serious car accident.”
“No, we have not ascertained the extent of his injuries.”
“We did use the jaws of life to extract your son and his girlfriend from the vehicle.”
“No, I told you, I cannot tell you the extent of his injuries but if you head over to Trauma 1 at the Civic, they will give you an update.”
” All I can tell you is it seems that the vehicle did flip end over end and then barrel-rolled down into a ditch filled with water.”
” Off the record, I will say that in 25 years of service, I have never seen a car look as bad as his does and not have someone dead on arrival.”
Sheer heart stopping panic grips me. I can hardly breath and my heart is pounding.We pass his car on the side of the highway. Spot lights, a crane, the car is on a flat-bed trailer, every side crushed,  dented. It looks like a giant has taken a baseball bat and swung about a hundred times. All I can think  is,
“If the car is that bashed and dented, how is our son who is only flesh and blood and breakable bones?”
 At the hospital
The emergency room nurse ushers us into Trauma 1 at the Civic Hospital,
“Well, you might as well just walk in and look around. This is trauma 1. As you can see, we were ready for the worst case scenario.”
Daniel stands at a sink, washing blood off his face and arms by himself!
I looked at my son, then at my husband. I am shaking. My mouth drops open.
We slowly turn to look at the emergency room nurse.
“If you had been here when Daniel arrived, you would have seen the entire team. As you can see, this young man does not even have a broken pinkie finger. If his seat belt hadn’t been buckled up 10 seconds before, he would have been ejected from the car through the front windshield.  You should have heard the doctor ranting and lecturing when she heard that he had barely clicked his seat buckle closed. She kept telling your son how lucky he is.”
 ”His girlfriend is an angel. She literally saved his life.”
Daniel is white. His face is drained of all colour and he is covered in blood.
“Not mine mum. Erica got a cut on her forehead and bled all over me.”
“Ma, I should be dead. I should be dead!! If Erica hadn’t bugged me, my seat belt wouldn’t even have been done up yet.”
 BOTH my husband and I sensed an inner voice..”angels protected your son”
Even with their seatbelts on, none of the response teams could get over these kids. A car looking like theirs did should have killed or seriously injured all of them. You can laugh but I have an inner sense that angels protected their bodies as the car flipped from right side up to upside down, first from headlights to hood, to tail lights and under body and then barrel rolled sideways landing upside down with water pouring in. 
There is no other explanation.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Jesus and the Canaanite Woman

Today's readings contain the Gospel reading, Matthew 15: 21-28, which is one that I am afraid is a bit hard for my modern sensibilities.  I feel for the woman, who is clearly an outsider, and I feel for her poor daughter. This woman goes to Jesus, mindful of the cultural walls that should have made her mission impossible (remember what Deuteronomy says about Canaanites!), yet,still, she seeks Him.
"At that time Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon.  And behold, a Canaanite woman of that district came and called out, 'Have pity on me, Lord, Son of David!  My daughter is tormented by a demon.'  But Jesus did not say a word in answer to her"
If I am entirely honest, the silent response of Jesus as this woman pleads for her daughter really bothers me.  It is a terror in my soul not to be noticed by the beloved, to seek Him and not have him respond.  But this woman remains undaunted, she continues to cry out to Jesus! Was His silence a non-response?  Even the disciples want Jesus to respond to her:
"Jesus's disciples came and asked  him 'send her away for she keeps calling out after us.'  He said in reply, 'I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.'  But the woman came and did Him homage, saying, 'Lord help me.'  He said in reply, 'It is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs.'  She said, 'Please, Lord, for even the dogs eat the scraps that fall from the table of their masters.'  Then Jesus said to her in reply, 'O woman, great is your faith!  Let it be done for you as you wish.'  And the woman's daughter was healed from that hour."
First he is silent, and then he reminds her that she is not one of the children, in fact, she is a dog.  My modern, and very superficial and thin-skinned sensibilities are insulted for this woman!.  I really want to explain that Jesus really did not mean to call her a dog.  I want to imagine he was smiling and winking at her when he said this, knowing that he was really going to teach the disciples a thing or two about inclusiveness.

  Or maybe I don't.  Maybe it is in facing down the hard truths about ourselves, without fear and in absolute humility that the full height and depth of the Gospel can penetrate to the darkest and most desolate areas in our soul. And maybe His silence isn't rejection, maybe it is in the dark night of His silence that the deeper truth of my need for Him, and my longing for Him are more fully revealed.  He draws forth from me the desire for His mercy because, in the light of His justice and truth, all is revealed.  But these are hard to endure, and sometimes I would rather choose blindness to truth.

 This woman comes to Jesus in absolute honesty,  about who she is and where she stands in light of the Truth as He stands before her.  It is her words and actions that indicate that.  In the passages before this story, Matthew 15:1-20, Jesus explains that evil in the heart of a person is what defiles a person, and leaves them blind, like the Pharisees who cannot see that disobeying a commandment of God is far worse than not following a tradition that has been handed down by their elders.  They are offended by Jesus identifying their neglect of the commandments and in their pride they are blinded and do recognize truth when they are confronted with it.  They refuse His justice, so they refuse His mercy.

 There is much to admire in the Canaanite woman's courage to seek Jesus, and her faith to keep on seeking him for the sake of her daughter. I am also drawn to her humility and her lack of presumption. She knows where she stands and in knowing that she avails herself fully to His mercy.  And in her perseverance to seek the Lord, she helps all of us to see in His light, and all is revealed.  No superficiality or blind arrogance will be tolerated, not if you want to receive the fullness of His healing.

God's peace and grace be with all of you!
Heidi Knofczynski, Journey to Wisdom