Catholic Doctrine

20th Sunday of Year A

Catechism Themes

20th Sunday of Year A

CCC 543-544: Kingdom first to Israel, now for all who believe
CCC 674: Christ’s coming hope of Israel; their final acceptance of Messiah
CCC 2610: power of invocation with sincere faith
CCC 831, 849: the catholicity of the Church

Social Justice (CCC 1928-1942)

God’s Word

by Fr. Clement D. Thibodeau


Catholic Pastoral Practices

20th Sunday of Year A

Lesson Plans

Transfiguration (Year A) –

Catechist Background and Preparation
Primary Session
Intermediate Session
Junior High School

Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick

As is clear from this Sunday’s gospel, Jesus is sent by a loving God to be a healer for all those struck down by sickness and ill health. Indeed, Jesus extols the woman in the gospel for her faith in him, a faith that promotes wellness and healing.

The Catholic Church does not believe that sickness is a punishment from God, for the Son of God has made our pain his own (Matthew 8:17 and Isaiah 53:4). The Lamb of God, sacrificed for us, takes away the sin of the world. Thus, by the mystery of his own suffering and death, Jesus gives new meaning to our own illness and suffering whose earthly reality is transformed by the Lord. Those who are sick—and indeed all those who are healthy—can look upon the cross of Christ and know that humanity in its limitations and sickness has been configured and united to the Lord of life who is the Redeemer (CCC 1505).

Consequently, the Church supports by prayer and presence persons who are sick and invites them to faith in Jesus—in spite of the burdens and doubts occasioned by sickness. The Second Vatican Council outlined what the major thrust of this sacrament should be. They (referring to James 5:14–16; Romans 8:17; Colossians 1:24; Timothy 2:11–12; 1 Peter 4:13) declared, “By the sacred anointing of the sick and the prayer of the priests the whole Church commends those who are ill to the suffering and glorified Lord that he may raise them up and save them. And indeed she exhorts them to contribute to the good of the People of God by freely uniting themselves to the passion and death of Christ (LG 11).

The wisdom of the Council acknowledged the existential reality involved in serious sickness. This debilitating experience is a certain reminder of our human frailty, limitation and ultimate mortality, and pending despair. On the other hand, supported by the care and concern of family, friends, and the Church, a person who is sick can find an opportunity to renew and strengthen their faith in the God who will not abandon us and who has, in Jesus, suffered indignities, pain, and torture unto death.

From the earliest times, the Church has attested to an anointing for those who are sick. This prayerful action has been considered a sacrament (James 5:14–15). Bishops and priests pray over, lay hands upon, and anoint those who are sick with holy oil. Prior to the Second Vatican Council, this anointing of the sick was celebrated for only those who were perceived to be in immediate danger of death. The Council taught that this sacrament was not only for those who were in immediate danger of death but any who experienced the difficulty of physical or mental sickness, debilitation, or old age (SC 73).

The Church understands and upholds that through the celebration of this sacrament persons who are sick are strengthened through the grace of God and given peace and courage. In other words, “In this context, the sick themselves, as well as all those who participate in their sickness as social process, are . . . invited by the very nature of the act to surrender in remembrance and thanksgiving . . . they are challenged and supported by the worshipping community to entrust themselves to God in hope, in faith and in love” (NDictSacr 1170). As Catholics, we believe that suffering and sickness, through the witness of the Church to the gospel, can acquire a transforming power. It is for this reason that this sacrament should always be proceeded by the Word of God (except in an emergency) and be celebrated communally, with the sick person surrounded by family, friends, and other believers. Even if the sacrament is celebrated by a priest alone with the person who is sick, the communion of saints, the whole household of the faith, is present in prayer, consoling, reaching out, touching with this ritual action.

The Church prays in this sacrament for those who are sick, “Father in heaven, through this holy anointing grant N. comfort in her suffering. When she is afraid, give her courage, when afflicted, give her patience, when dejected, afford her hope, and when alone, assure her of the support of your holy people” (PC 125).


  • Why is faith in Jesus important when we are sick?
  • How does Jesus’ ministry of healing continue in the Church today?
  • How does the Anointing of the Sick bring about healing and comfort?
  • How does Jesus help you deal with suffering in your life?
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Catholic Catechism

20th Sunday of Year A

20th Sunday of Year A

Bible Verses Cited in Catechism

1st Reading

Is 56:1, 6-7

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Courtesy of Catholic Cross Reference Online

2nd Reading

Rom 11:13-15, 29-32

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Courtesy of Catholic Cross Reference Online

Gospel Reading

Mt 15:21-28

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Featured Video

Catholic Catechism Topics

28 Lessons

Fr. Eamon Tobin

Catholic Catechism Topics

28 articles on the “four pillars” of the Catechism offering a pastoral approach explaining Catholic beliefs not stated explicitly in the Bible, e.g., Purgatory, Marian doctrines.

  • Suggestions on how to study the articles in a small group 
  • Suggestions on which articles to focus on for two seasons (seven weeks per season)
  • Index of Topics

Animated Catechism Series

3 Minute

70 hand drawn and animated episodes, each 3-4 minutes long. The series follows and explains the Creed, covering all four parts of the Catechism. 


MAN: Episodes 1-6
GOD: 12-20
JESUS: 27-33
CHURCH: 51-60

Courtesy of Catholic Cross Reference Online

Catholic Answers

20th Sunday of Year A

We might well imagine the media explosion if Our Lord were among us today and someone posted a video of his exchange with the Canaanite woman. It would be viral: “Jesus uses racial slur to deter Gentile woman!” “The so-called ‘Son of David’ invades Gentile neighborhood with his male followers and calls inhabitants ‘dogs’!” “Jewish rabbi humiliates Palestinian woman asking for healing!” The comments and retweets would be endless.

Our Lord’s followers might have defended him by pointing out his kindness to non-Jews, the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well, the Roman centurion whose faith he praised, prostitutes and tax collectors, and the woman who was unclean who grabbed hold of the edge of his garment. They might mention the parable of the Good Samaritan or his mercy to those outside the law.