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20th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Ages 3-6): Who Does Jesus Help?


(Adults: children of this age usually pray in thanksgiving and praise unless taught otherwise by adults. They enjoy a time of unwavering trust in the relationship they have with God. In this week's Gospel, the woman prays a petitionary prayer. This reflection does not dwell on her petition, therefore, but on the help that Jesus gives to her.)

Last week, we saw that nothing—not wind, not waves—can keep the Good Shepherd away from his sheep. Jesus has to be with his disciples when they are in trouble. When Peter sinks and cries out to Jesus, Jesus helps him immediately. Now we know that the Good Shepherd helps his sheep and his disciples. We can start to wonder if there is anyone else the Good Shepherd helps.

In the Gospel this week, when a woman comes to him for help for her daughter, Jesus mentions his sheep again,

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

The woman must wonder where these sheep are. Usually, sheep are in fields. Jesus is not walking in a field; he walks on the streets of the town. Where are his sheep? In fact, we do not ever see Jesus with sheep. We wonder...who are these sheep?

The woman must think, "I do not care about lost sheep; I care about my daughter who is not well." Perhaps she thinks Jesus is not paying attention. She asks him for help again.

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

The woman gets down on her knees now. Why does she do that?

She makes herself small before Jesus.

She knows he is so good, so great, so giving,

and she shows she knows this

by getting on her knees before him.

What else does she know?

She knows he can help her, does she not? While he talks about sheep, she reminds him that it is her daughter who needs help. And what does Jesus do?

Jesus answered her, “Woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.” And her daughter was healed instantly.

Jesus helps the woman whose daughter was unwell.

So now we know that Jesus helps:

  • his lost sheep,

  • his disciples,

  • and a mother with an unwell child.

Does he help anyone else?

Jesus is so good, so great, so giving—-

we can make ourselves small before him, too, can we not?

Where could we do this?

We could do it at church. People get on their knees before him at church all the time. We can, too.

Could we also make a special place in our home where we can make ourselves small before him? What would we whisper to him?

Jesus, you are so good.

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