20th Sunday of Year A

Dicastery for
the Clergy

20th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle A


One of the characteristics of human beings is freedom of choice… 


God reveals himself to men not through concepts but by means of symbolic action or an interpersonal relationship…. 

Jesus Christ spent long hours in prayer and dialogue with the Father… 

Paul reminds us of the extraordinary prerogatives of God in relation to Israel, underscoring that “To them belong the patriarchs, and of their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ”… 


In order to answer one’s interlocutor, one must know the content of their message or proposal. ..

It is not enough to know God’s Revelation… 

Kieran J.
O’Mahony, OSA

Hearers of the Word




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Catholic Climate Covenant



20th Sunday – Cycle A


Isaiah 56: Observe what is right, do what is just; for my salvation is about to come, my justice about to be revealed…. for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples. 

Romans 11: By virtue of the mercy shown to you, they too may now receive mercy. 

Matthew 15: “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.”

Voluntary sharing as a way of life is the very foundation of all Christian communities. We all need to be more attentive to the cry of the poor, as well as to the cry of the planet. It’s not some- thing we can ask or demand that others do without us. It’s not a matter of one or the other, because everything is interrelated, interdependent. We need one another and are better together.

St. Charles Borromeo Bible Study Commentary


20th Sunday – Cycle A

Sources Include in PDF: 

  • The Jerome Biblical Commentary
  • The New Jerome Biblical Commentary, and 
  • The Navarre Bible
  • Church History by Laux (TAN Books), 

Fr. Francis Martin

The Word Proclaimed Institute



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Wiki Connections

20th Sunday of Year A

Gospel Connections

Mt 15:21-28

20th Sunday of Year A

1st Reading Connections

Is 56:1, 6-7

20th Sunday of Year A

2nd Reading Connections

Rom 11:13-15, 29-32

20th Sunday of Year A

Responsorial Connections

Ps 67:2-3, 5, 6, 8

Bible Study

20th Sunday of Year A


St. Timothy Catholic Church, Laguna Niguel, CA


This week’s study is on Matthew, chapter 15, verses 21-28, the Gospel reading for Sunday, August 20th, 2023, The Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle A.

0:00 – Welcome
0:54 – Opening Prayer
2:02 – Introduction
4:09 – Gospel Reading
7:54 – Teaching
21:04 – Q & A
47:34 – Closing prayer

Catholic Sunday Scriptures in Context

Fr. Paul Galetto, O.S.A. briefly unpacks the history and context of the Sunday readings.


Agape Bible Study

20th Sunday of Year A



The Universal Call to Salvation

Jesus made it the mission of the Church to spread the Gospel “to the ends of the earth,” calling the people of all nations to salvation in Christ Jesus (Mt 28:19-20).  However, it was always God’s plan to invite all peoples to covenant unity with the One True God, returning them to the one family in fellowship with God that existed before the Fall of Adam.  Today’s readings affirm that universal call in God’s Divine Plan for humanity.


Michal E Hunt, Copyright © 2014; revised 2023 Agape Bible Study; used with permission

1st Reading

Welcoming Foreigners into the Covenant

In the First Reading, God told His covenant people through the prophet Isaiah that the Jerusalem Temple shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.  Isaiah received prophetic visions and oracles that concerned the “new Zion” of God’s redeemed people.  God promised that all peoples of the earth could look forward to the Messianic Era when He would extend the gift of salvation to all nations (Is 56:1-12).  The Lord promised that in the “new Zion” of the Messianic Era, He would open His house of worship to those Gentiles previously excluded from Temple worship (Is 56:1, 6a).  In the promised new age, all the righteous who observed His commandments could look forward to participation in the future Messianic salvation regardless of their national origin.  Jesus quoted this verse from the Book of the Isaiah concerning God’s promise for universal salvation when He cleansed the Jerusalem Temple on Sunday and again on Monday of His last week in Jerusalem (Mt 21:10-13 and Mk 11:12, 15-17).

The covenant people proclaimed God’s plan of universal salvation in their Temple liturgical worship services when they sang from Psalm 67: So may your way be known upon earth; among all nations, your salvation (Responsorial Psalms) The psalm may have been part of the pilgrim feasts of the harvest festival known as the Feast of Weeks and also the feast of ingathering at the end of the liturgical year, known as the Feast of Shelters (Ex 23:14-17; Lev 23:15-22; 33-43).  While both feasts celebrated the history of Israel’s liberation from Egypt, Psalm 67 anticipated the Messianic Age when God called the chosen people and the non-Jewish nations together to serve Him as the One True God.

All nations coming together to offer worship, prayer, and praise to God comes about through the mission of the Universal (Catholic) Church.  The New Covenant Church of Jesus Christ fulfills the desire expressed in this psalm by welcoming all nations into the family of God through the Sacrament of Baptism.  The Church’s Liturgy uses Psalm 67 on the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God.  In that feast, we acknowledge our Blessed Mother’s role in bringing the gift of eternal salvation to all nations through the courage of her submission to God in willingly bringing forth the promised Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary and Son of God.


Michal E Hunt, Copyright © 2014; revised 2023 Agape Bible Study; used with permission

2nd Reading

God’s Irrevocable Gifts and Call

St. Paul reminds us in our Second Reading that all peoples of all nations, Jews and Gentiles, can have confidence in God’s call to salvation because the gifts and call of God are irrevocable.  Just as God extended His love and mercy to the Gentiles who were outside the covenant, so too must the Christians, both Jewish and Gentile Christians, as one covenant people, extend God’s mercy and love to our old covenant brothers and sisters.  With the Sinai Covenant fulfilled and replaced by the New Covenant in Christ, Jesus is their only means of salvation (Acts 4:12; Heb 8:6, 13).  Christians, as the younger brothers and sisters, are bound to our Divine Father’s promise to Israel, the elder sons, and daughters of the covenant.  God promised the children of Israel on the eve of their conquest of the Promised Land: For Yahweh your God is a merciful God and will not desert or destroy you or forget the covenant which he made on oath with your ancestors (Dt 4:31, NJB).  The Catechism of the Catholic Church expresses our Christian commitment to our Jewish brothers and sisters of the Old Covenant faith in CCC 674.


Michal E Hunt, Copyright © 2014; revised 2023 Agape Bible Study; used with permission


Reward for the Persistence of Faith

The Gospel reading has two messages for us.  The first message is that no one is unworthy of God’s mercy or His gifts.  The second message is that we must be persistent in prayer when petitioning the Lord.  Our persistence is a demonstration of our faith in God’s power to intercede in our lives.  In the Gospel Reading, Jesus demonstrated God’s mercy in the universal granting of His gifts.  Jesus’ mission was first to announce the coming Kingdom of God to the Jews, the “lost sheep of the House of Israel,” but He healed the child of a Gentile woman who was not a member of the Sinai Covenant when she expressed her faith and trust in Jesus to save her child.  Jesus’ gift of eternal salvation is available to everyone who comes to Him in faith and obedience.

God’s gift of eternal salvation does not mean that everyone will receive the gift of eternal salvation regardless of their beliefs or practices.  The belief that everyone will achieve eternal salvation is the heresy of universalism.  See the document “Ancient Heresies Recycled in the Modern Age.” One must make the free-will commitment to accept God’s gift of salvation by living in a covenant relationship with God the Son; no one can make it to Heaven on their own merits.

The Church prays, in today’s alternate opening prayer, that people of all races and nationalities will answer God’s call to salvation and join the family of the universal Church: “Almighty God, ever-loving Father, your care extends beyond the boundaries of race and nations to the hearts of all who live.  May the walls, which prejudice raises between us, crumble beneath the shadow of your outstretched arm.  We ask this through Christ, our Lord.  Amen.”


Michal E Hunt, Copyright © 2014; revised 2023 Agape Bible Study; used with permission