Faith Sharing

20th Sunday of Year A



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Word Sunday


Spiritual “Ears”

Why do people classify themselves at “conservative” or “liberal?” How do these labels apply to the spiritual life?

The spiritual life is a balancing act between the head and the heart, between the interior life and the communal experience, between tradition and innovation.

The truly spiritual person is not conservative or liberal. That person asks:

  • What is worth conserving?
  • What needs to be liberated?

The answers to these questions do not depend upon the certainty of faith or the emotional rush to change in the name of justice. They depend upon the act of listening. To the self. To others. And to God. To listen requires balance.

SOURCE: Word-Sunday Permission for use. All materials are the property of Larry Broding (Copyright 1999-2022). Viewers may copy any material for use in any non-profit ministry. Materials may not be sold or used for personal financial gain.

A Prayer of Blessing

Do you look back with fondness to a certain time in your life? Why?

How do you see God blessing the world?

Take time this week to pray for God’s blessing for the world. Praying a rosary for world peace is not a bad idea.

SOURCE: Word-Sunday Permission for use. All materials are the property of Larry Broding (Copyright 1999-2022). Viewers may copy any material for use in any non-profit ministry. Materials may not be sold or used for personal financial gain.

Through A Larger Vision

Has scandal ever changed your mind about a political or social issue? Why did it change your mind?

What has scandalized you lately? Present these scandals before the Lord. Allow him to sort out the important from the unimportant. Pray for great vision so you can understand and act appropriately.

SOURCE: Word-Sunday Permission for use. All materials are the property of Larry Broding (Copyright 1999-2022). Viewers may copy any material for use in any non-profit ministry. Materials may not be sold or used for personal financial gain.

Prejudice and Faith

Are you at ease in today’s multi-cultural climate? Or, do you find your dealings with people of other cultures difficult? (Be honest!)

How have people discouraged your faith? How have you overcome such discouargement?

When was the last time you reached out to others different from you? When did you serve the poor, the sick, or the needy? How did that experience change you?

SOURCE: Word-Sunday Permission for use. All materials are the property of Larry Broding (Copyright 1999-2022). Viewers may copy any material for use in any non-profit ministry. Materials may not be sold or used for personal financial gain.

Bulletin Insert

Discussion Questions


God’s chosen people, who were marched away from home into exile in Babylon, are now given permission to return home and rebuild their temple. King Cyrus even gives them back their sacred vessels stolen from the Temple 60 years earlier. The Hebrew people could hardly believe what was happening. God could even work through a Gentile King to rescue and restore his people. Isaiah shares a vision of all peoples being able to worship together in the Temple. This vision was never truly fulfilled. Non Jews were only allowed into an ‘outer courtyard’ of the Temple. What vision of welcome do you have for your Church? What limits your vision from becoming a reality?


Paul continues to grieve over his own Jewish people. He hopes that disobedience will eventually meet mercy! People labelled and feeling distant from God (Gentiles) will experience union with God. Paul reminds the Church of God’s passionate desire for all the ‘unclean’ / gentiles to be made welcome in the Church. Who do you judge unclean?


Some geography helps to understand the context of the Gospel reading today. Jesus has just finished arguing with the Pharisees (Mt 15:1-20) about what is ‘clean and unclean’. He now travels into unclean ‘gentile’ territory. He moves out of the ‘Holy Land’ and into Canaanite territory. Is he trying to get rid of the Pharisees who keep following and arguing with him? Or is he trying to teach his disciples a lesson going beyond mere words of teaching? The disciples would have been hesitant to go themselves into ‘unclean’ territory.  What do you think Jesus could be teaching the disciples? The Church?

Without napkins at the dinner table, it was a practice that bread was broken and ones hands were cleaned with bread. Bread and food was left after dinner on the floor. House dogs were frequently able to mop up the crumbs and foodscraps after the guests had finished. This is an image used in the reading today. Is Jesus derogatory toward the woman or just revealing his first concern was ‘lost sheep of Israel’?

The disciples wanted the canaanite woman sent away. She was unsettling. Was Jesus waiting for the disciples reaction to her as a way of teaching them about clean / unclean?

The Gentile woman kneels before Jesus and prays ‘Lord help me’. Jesus praises and rewards her persistence and faith. To the Jewish community of the Gospel of Matthew this event would have come as a shock. Jesus entered into and found faith among the unclean gentiles. Imagine feeling or being labelled as ‘unclean’ by ‘the church’. What obstacles need to be overcome for people to meet Jesus? Are you helping or hindering?


SOURCE: Living the Word resources are created by Fr Frank Bird a Marist priest and Mrs Bev McDonald, ACSD, distributed by Marist Laity Auckland, NZ 


1. Having met with rejection from the Pharisees Jesus goes towards Gentile territory and encounters faith in an un- expected place, in the Canaanite woman. His mission had previously been to his own people. This adds a new di- mension to his mission. Have you had occasions when a chance encounter set your life off in a new direction?

2. The Canaanite woman was not con- cerned for herself but for her daughter. Recall people you have known who have been committed to a noble cause.

3. The initial reaction of Jesus to the woman was one of rejection but her persistence won a response from him. When have you found that persistence was needed to gain what you sought? What did that experience teach you?

4. Who are the “Canaanite women” who call out for attention today—people in church or state whose needs are not being attended to?


SOURCE: Hearers of the Word


“Observe what is right, do what is just.” Is Isaiah telling us to look at situations in our lives, discern what is right, and do a just action to change it? Are today’s crises—racial, economic and environmental—offering us opportunities to discern and become prophets of change?


“The gifts and the call of God are irrevocable.” According to this statement of St. Paul, will there ever be a change in God’s mind, to stop loving us? “Even if we are faithless he is faithful, because he cannot deny himself” (2 Tim. 2:13). Explain.


What is it about her statement, “Please, Lord, for even the dogs eat the scraps that fall from the table of their masters” that prompts Jesus to grant her request? Do you think he might have understood his mission from the Father better, during this conversation?

What risk did the Canaanite woman take when she cried, “Have pity on me, Lord, Son of David!” Who are the risk takers today? For the environment? For racial justice? For caring for people with the virus? Is anything great gained without risk?


SOURCE: Sunday Web Site at Saint Louis University


1. Is it any wonder that parts of the Middle East are in such turmoil when vastly different ethnic and religious groups have historically been so hostile to one another? What do you think is the ideal solution to that problem and why?

2. Have you ever felt that you were being denied some of your rights in society because of your race, gender, ethnic origins, or religion? How did that feel? What was your response?

3. What do you think God will do to those persons who have never consciously made a decision for or against faith in Jesus Christ, simply because they do not know him? Suppose people refuse to become Catholic or Christians because they see so many scandals in the lives of those who are supposed to be following the teachings of Jesus. What will God do with those?


SOURCE: Portland Diocese


The first and third readings are about God’s inclusiveness. How inclusive are you? Are there individuals and groups that you prefer not to mix with?

For hundreds of years, African Americans were not welcome in our Church. How inclusive is our Church at this time? Who or what groups may not feel welcome in our Church?


In the Gospel, the woman shows great perseverance and faith. She was not going to be denied. Can you

remember a time when your perseverance and/or faith gained you something you would not have gotten without those qualities?

Name one thing today’s Gospel says to us that we disciples of Jesus need to heed and act on.


Share with the person next to you one way you can act on this week’s readings. Suggestion: Reflect on who you now exclude from your circle of friends. If there is some group or individual(s), begin to pray about how you can have a change of heart.


SOURCE: Ascension Catholic Parish, Melbourne, FL
Small group faith sharing scripture study by VInce Contreras

Sunday Scripture Study


“Great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire”


In the 1st Reading, the prophet Isaiah foretells the inclusion of Gentiles in the kingdom of God, and the enthusiasm and sincerity of their worship. How well are you fulfilling this prophecy?


Regarding the 2nd Reading: from what religious roots does Christianity come? If you are not ethnically Jewish, what do those roots make you, as a believer in Christianity? With what kind of awe, then, should you regard Judaism? With what kind of awe should you regard the grace of God in you?


Look at a map of Israel in Jesus’ time. Where is Tyre and Sidon in relation to Jerusalem?

How would Jesus’ accusers in verses 1-20 have viewed his 100-mile “detour” to the region ofTyre and Sidon? Would they have likely done the same? Why or why not?

What do we learn about the Canaanite woman? How are you like her? Not like her?

What do we learn about Jesus? About Jesus’ attitude toward non-Jews?

When you deal with needy people or “outsiders,” are you more like the disciples or Jesus?Why? How has God gone a long distance to heal you?

Do you ever feel “put off” by the Lord? What happens to your faith when God appears not toanswer? Do you give up, or do you persist? Do you seek Jesus with expectant faith?