Have Pity!

None of us enjoys walking into a situation and being made to feel unwelcome. Perhaps at a social event we join a group of people deep in conversation, only to have all talking stop. Or we present a new idea to the staff with whom we work and it is immediately cut down and we are ignored. Or a friend invites us along to dinner with mutual friends, and when we arrive there is obviously no place setting for us at the table and no move on the part of the hostess to set one. These situations hurt. If we can, we take leave of the situation as soon as possible. If we cannot remove ourselves from a difficult situation, we try to become as inconspicuous as possible. A corner becomes our friend!

A first glance at this Sunday’s gospel might lead us to think that the Canaanite woman is a very unwelcome person! The disciples want Jesus to send her away. Jesus says some pretty harsh things. The Canaanite woman (a foreigner) approaches Jesus with a heartfelt request to heal her daughter. Jesus’ reply seems anything but welcoming! But rather than give up and remove herself from a seemingly unpleasant situation, she is determined to receive healing for her daughter. She does anything but give up! Her heart is steadfastly turned toward reaching one goal: healing for her daughter. She is willing to accept any rebuke, rebuttal, rebuff in order to get what she desires for one she loves. Love conquers any unwelcome. [Living Liturgy, 2014]

The Canaanite woman demonstrates the kind of faith needed to be healed by Jesus and to receive God’s gift of salvation, the kind of faith that brings us into divine embrace. Her faith was visible in three habits of the heart: awareness that she needed Jesus’ healing intervention, persistence against all odds, and concern not only for herself but for her daughter. Her great faith moved Jesus to have “pity on” her. Anyone who approaches God with this kind of great faith will be given healing and salvation. We too must develop and grow in the habits of the heart that make visible the great faith necessary for our healing and salvation.

Here is the twist of this gospel: a seemingly unwelcome situation gives way to one in which everyone is welcome. Jesus initially declares that his mission is only to “the house of Israel,” and, consequently, harshly rebuffs the Canaanite woman. Then a change occurs. The encounter between Jesus and the woman reveals the unrestricted welcome of Jesus, the power of great faith, and the universality of salvation for those who believe.

The Canaanite woman’s cry to Jesus was that he “[h]ave pity on me” (not on her daughter, although that is surely implied in the request). Her love for her daughter and her great desire that she be healed could not be separated from herself—she and her daughter were one in the need for healing and life. Her daughter was welcomed into her heart in love, and this was the source of her great faith and persistence. This gives us an insight into our inclusivity and ministry: we must be so “at one” with others that their plight is our own plight. Ministry is more than doing for another; it implies an empathy with another that discloses the unity we share as members of the Body of Christ. One dimension of living the Gospel is that we work to increase our unity with one another, which in turn draws us to reach out to others in mercy and compassion, welcome and inclusivity.

Adapted from Renew International  Prayer Time Cycle A

I Want to See

Learn how to increase your curb appeal when selling a home and increase your sales price.

Talk to any Real Estate agent (or avid HGTV viewer) and they’ll tell you that increasing your curb appeal is important when selling your home. Curb appeal is how attractive your home looks when a potential buyer first pulls up to look at it. You’ve probably heard the phrase “first impressions are important,” and that’s true — especially when selling a home. According to a study done by Michigan State University, a home with landscaping and effort put into curb appeal can increase perceived home value by 5 to 11%. Curb appeal can also sell a home faster.

Suzette Peoples, Owner and Broker of Peoples Properties, said curb appeal is important for buyers to form a positive opinion on the property.

“When buyers see the outside taken care of, they have a better attitude that the inside will be just as nice!” Peoples said. “First impressions make lasting impressions.”

Learn how to increase your curb appeal when selling a home and get more money when you sell your house.

Luckily, whether your budget is large or small, you can use these 6 tips from successful real estate agents to increase your curb appeal and see a return on your investment in the sale of your home.

  1. Clean or Repaint the Door

Suzette Peoples, Owner of Peoples Properties, said she always advises sellers to clean or re-paint their front door before listing a home. Your front door gets a lot of wear and tear and has to face the outside elements, which can make it wear faster. Cleaning it and updating the paint can instantly update the look and feel of your home. Add a bold but matching color to make the door pop and have the prospective buyer’s eye drawn to it.

Cost to repaint the door: About $20 for a quart

Little extra in your budget? Completely replacing your door can bring a 90% return on your investment if the entry door is steel (which, on average, will cost you about $1,413), according to the Cost vs Value Report from Remodeling Magazine.

  1. Landscape

When you pull up to a home with dead grass and weeds in the planter boxes, you’re probably not going to be impressed. That’s why investing in your lawn and garden is great for curb appeal. Try out with artificial turf.

“Landscaping is one of the best ways to increase curb appeal for any listing,” Peoples said.

According to the Economic Benefits of Landscape by the Landscape Contractors of America, landscaping can add 14% to the resale value of a home and sell it 6 weeks faster.

Take an hour or two to weed the garden, replace mulch, plant new flowers, and replace the brick or concrete siders on your flower beds. You’ll also want to mow your lawn before showing the home. You can also purchase ready-made pots of plants at most home improvement stores, which can save you time and energy.

Cost: dependent on what type of flowers and mulch you purchase. Can work with any price range.

Little extra in your budget?: Find a professional landscaper in your area to create an easy-to-care-for landscape that also looks beautiful. Homeowners spend $3,219 on average to hire a landscaper.

  1. Clean Up the Driveway

Driveways don’t seem like they’d be a real eyecatcher, but if it has weeds and dirt, it’s going to leave a bad first impression for your buyers. Suzette Peoples said she powerwashes all driveways and sidewalks before listing the home. But don’t just clean up your driveway, make sure it’s de-cluttered as well. Jill Price suggested making sure the cars aren’t parked in the driveway for the photoshoot of the home and while the home is being shown.