• Gabriel von Wendt

Wed, August 8, 2018 - In Christ We Find Our Truest Identity

Matthew 15:21-28

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 he did not say a word in answer to her. His 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 her daughter was healed from that hour.

Have you ever felt like you did not belong?Often this sensation simply stems from the temporal condition of being new to some context; other times, it is provoked by inconsiderate behavior of others; frequently it results from insecurities or inner complexes; but sometimes you simply donot belong; sometimes it simply is not for you. It is a sign of a strong identity if you are able to recognize situations where you either are to take a back seat, or even disappear altogether. That self knowledge can be rooted in your state of life or your commitments, factors these which can draw clear lines. A strong identity also takes into account your own temperament and tendencies, and thus the awareness of what brings out the best version of yourself. Finally, the prudent assessment of a situation will consider one's own state of emotions and intentions. Whether or not I belong in a certain context or not depends on who I am and who I am meant to be. As Christians we have a clear understanding of what we are to be: We have all the spiritual and ethical orientations we could wish for. And yet, none of these can take away the daily task to craft our own identity. Who I am to be is a project without any blueprint. I need to face my reality again and again, and become more myself through my decisions, encounters, and experiences. Who am I to be? Where do I belong? Maybe these questions sound quite modern. While it is true that the strong focus on individual realization arose in the last centuries, man's calling to craft his identity is timeless. In order to live this calling man needs to gain an understanding about his life. Today’s Saint, Dominic, knew that. He sensed the need of his generation for a more profound understanding. He also believed that the Church possessed the light to guide man's quest of understanding life in the right way: Christ's Revelation, the source of light for each human situation. For in Christ we find our truest identity. Therefore, St. Dominic and his sons were and are devoted to preaching and teaching, offering Christ's light so that it may shine on man's challenging path of becoming more himself. Today's Gospel reminds us that we all belong to Jesus. True, there are contexts in which we may be out of place, and we might feel like that Canaanite woman in a foreign culture. But Christ and his Salvation are each person's path to happiness. Nobody is a foreigner to God. Nothing makes man become more himself than the encounter with Jesus Christ. This is the “great faith” which freed the Canaanite woman from her burden. And this is our great faith, too.