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Geography Matters

20th Sunday in OT


“Jesus left that place and went away to the district of Tyre and Sidon.”

Matthew 15:21

My dear Family in Christ,

As we hear the Gospel this Sunday, it is helpful to have a map handy. Last Sunday, we heard about Jesus and Peter walking on the Sea of Galilee, which concludes with ‘When they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret.’ Gennesaret is located on the Northeast shore of the Sea of Galilee(circled in red near the bottom of the map).There he heals people, encounters the Pharisees, and teaches his disciples.

This Sunday, the Gospel begins, “Jesus left that place (Gennesaret) and went away to the district of Tyre and Sidon.” As you can see on the map, the region of Tyre and Sidon isn’t close to Gennesaret, and they are separated by a pretty significant mountain range. It is approximately 80 km from Gennesaret to Tyre, and another 30 km from Tyre to Sidon.

Why is this significant? Based on the geography, this journey would have taken Jesus and his disciples at least two days, and through mountains. On top of that, the Gospels tell us nothing about Jesus’ time in that region apart from the encounter with the Canaanite woman we hear about in this Sunday’s Gospel. Given these details, we have to ask the question; Why did he travel so far, to do so little? What was so important about this Canaanite woman? This Sunday, we’ll find out. Whatever it is, it was worth it to Jesus- and so it should be to us.

See you Sunday,

Father Daniel

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