Faith Sharing

21st Sunday of Year A

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Word Sunday


21st Sunday of Year A

Measure to the Heart

How do you measure the character and intent of others?

Isaiah prophesied during the reign of King Hezekiah, a religious king loyal to the Lord. He was a reformer who centralized worship to YHWH in Jerusalem. He also faced off against Assyria, the regional superpower that swept south into Judah. The Assyrian king, Sennacherib, breathed threats against Hezekiah and his officials, Eliakim the prime minister and Shebna the state secretary. (See Isaiah 36-37 and 2 Kings 18-19). These few verses from Isaiah 22 implied Eliakim was promoted for his loyalty to Isaiah and the king. But, Shebna suffered demotion from his critique of the prophet.

The power of these verses were not in the people mentioned. (We can only speculate at the cause of the prophet’s diatribe). Its power remain in God’s judgement. The truly faithful would receive their reward, while the devious and two-faced would suffer condemnation. The verses remind us that there was such a thing as ultimate judgment. Such belonged in the hands of God.

God’s scale is the heart. How do you feel God measures your heart? Your intentions?

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.

21st Sunday of Year A

Thank You, God, For Standing By Me

Do you have a life-long friend? How has this friend stood by you through the good and the bad times?

Good friends are hard to find. This truism reaffirms itself over and over. A good friend is a treasure, for he or she will stand by you through the tough times, even from a long distance. This is the kind of person that will support you and help you throughput life.

God is this kind of friend. Our Creator not only made us and sustains us, he actively works in our lives for our ultimate good. He is present through times of blessing and tragedy. He deserves our thanks and praise for his constant care.

Psalm 138 thanks God for his unwavering presence. This psalm of thanksgiving was one of the last “Davidic” songs in the book of Psalms

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.

21st Sunday of Year A

In Ways Unknown

Have you ever day dreamed about controlling your environment, your future, or others in your world? Have you ever wondered why your world does not work the way you expect?

Why don’t we understand the ways of God? Why can’t reason penetrate the mind of the Almighty?

As moderns (or post-moderns), we might be tempted to feign awe over the amount of the known truth in the world. This is a temptation to pure narcissism. If we were to fall to such, we would overlook the growing number of questions that naturally rise up from the known truths. In other words, the more we know, the more we questions we have, the more we realize we don’t know. If this is the case, how can we ever expect to know anything about God?

God does work in ways we don’t understand. We cannot penetrate the mind of the Almighty. Yet, we do know that his ways are wondrous and, because of his activity in the world, he deserves praise. He may not work in ways we comprehend, but, in the end, his will spreads his goodness.

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.

21st Sunday of Year A

Faith and Church Leadership

What is the true power of peer pressure?

“How do I look?” This has got to be one of the deadliest question one spouse can ask another. Most of the time a spouse is looking for a compliment. But, there are those rare occasions a spouse wants honest feedback. (For real, honest feedback, gather one’s extended family into a room and ask the question!)

We Americans pride ourselves on our individuality. But, given the chance, we will measure ourselves by the majority, its norms, and its fads. In fact, many Americans compare themselves to others so they can find an identity. No matter how proud we are to be different, we need the opinion of the majority like a mirror to define our self-identity. (How do we know we are different unless others tell us we are different!)

In Matthew’s gospel, Jesus asked a simple question to his gathered followers: “Who do you say I am?” He wanted to know how they identified him. And he wanted to know how they identified themselves.

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

21st Sunday of Year A


The special office of ‘Master of the Palace’ also had another well known title ‘Keeper of the Keys’. This involved wearing the key to the palace door. It hung from just below the shoulder and was obvious to all who saw it. Symbolically and physically, this person had access to the King and had authority to act in the name of the King. Unfortunately Shebna in the first reading had a liking for the King’s chariots (Is 22, 16-18) and was building himself a special tomb – both expressions of status and power. He was removed from his office by the prophet Isaiah. Isaiah makes a prophecy that such a person given this role will be a ‘peg in a sure spot’. What do you think this means?


St Paul comes to the end of his painful sharing and confusion as to why his own people (Israel) could not accept Jesus. After all his wrestling and argument with God he finishes in prayer. He hands over this struggle to the mystery of how God works. What do you feel you need to hand over to God?


The Gospel of Matthew from Chapter 14 has Jesus giving special instruction to his 12 disciples. Dramatically he leaves Galilee and walks them into a place filled with Temples to Roman Emperors and Baal worship. There is even a temple dedicated to the fertility cult of the ‘dancing goat’! Against the background of this pagan worship he confronts his disciples, and us: Who do YOU say I am? What do YOU think of me? Imagine being in this scene. Jesus asks this question of you.

Simon’s response brings together two ‘titles’. The Christ (in greek or Messiah in Hebrew) is the long awaited one promised by God to save his people. But added to this Simon recognises the unique filial relationship Jesus has with God. Jesus is not simply a prophet (John Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah…) but uniquely one with God. Would you say you ‘know about’ Jesus or that you ‘know Jesus’? Is your christian faith ‘second hand’ or grounded on a ‘personal encounter’ with Jesus?


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. This marks a turning point in the life of Jesus, and of the disciples. It is the first time that his disciples recognise him as the Messiah. Recall turning points in your own journey of faith when you came to some deeper understanding of who Jesus is.

2. “Who do you say that I am?” This is possibly the most important question that Jesus puts to us. In your heart of hearts, how do you answer this question today?

3. Jesus praises Peter for his faith and comments that this was not his own do- ing but a gift of God. Perhaps there have been times when you have been con- scious of the gift nature of your faith. Be thankful for the gift you have received.


SOURCE: Hearers of the Word


“I will place the key of the House of David on Eliakim’s shoulder. … ” In the Gospel Jesus tells Peter he will give him the keys to the kingdom of heaven. What might these keys unlock? Love? The depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God?


“Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! … For from him and through him and for him are all things.” Every person, every race, every part of our environment comes from God. How can we thank or “give glory” to God for gifts such as these? By loving? By protecting?


To answer Jesus’ question, “Who do you say I am,” you have to know him. Which of the following could help you know Jesus: 

music by Vivaldi
Michelangelo’s David
a good homily
a good book
good friends
homeless people


SOURCE: Sunday Web Site at Saint Louis University


1. What nicknames have you been called in your lifetime? Have these names been a blessing to you or a curse? Discuss the power that name calling has on people? What kinds of names do we give to our pets? Our sailboats or pickup trucks? (Oh, Yes! In Maine we give names to pickups!)

2. What does it mean to you to call Jesus of Nazareth the Anointed One of God, the Christ? Do you have a sense that Jesus responds and gives you a name that designates your function or your responsibility in his community? What title is the most appropriate for you as a disciple of Jesus Christ?

3. Is it clear to you and to your community that we cannot call Jesus Messiah or Christ without also being willing to follow him to the cross? Do you understand that Jesus was redefining Messiah when he added that the Messiah must suffer and die? No follower of Jesus can be a faithful follower without going all the way with him!


SOURCE: Portland Diocese


In the second reading, Paul speaks about the ‘inscrutable’ and ‘unsearchable’ ways of God. For you, what might be an example of these words?


Jesus asks his disciples the question: “Who do you say I am?” How would you answer this question?

One could say Peter was the least qualified of Jesus’ disciples to head up the Church. He was uneducated, impulsive, a coward when things got tough. So why do you think Jesus chose him?

Most of us reading this Gospel have lived through several papacies. Does one stand out for you? If so, why?

It has been said: ‘God does not call the qualified, but he qualifies those he calls.’ Have you seen that work in your life?

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: As each of us wields some authority in our homes and communities, spend time thinking about how you use your authority.


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

21st Sunday of Year A

Sunday Scripture Study


“Flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven”


The 1st Reading describes the appointment of new chief steward, or prime minister, in the royal House of David. Why does it make sense that Jesus’ Kingdom would be foreshadowed by (and be the fulfillment of) that of his forerunner, King David?


In the context of the 2nd Reading, how might you look upon some of the disasters that have befallen Christianity as potential blessings from the Holy Spirit? For example, how might the Holy Spirit use the secularization of modern American culture as a blessing for the Church rather than as a curse?


Why did people think that Jesus was John the Baptist, Elijah, or Jeremiah?

What was significant about Peter’s confession?

How does the Church interpret the insight (Matthew 16:17), power (Matthew 16:18), and authority (Matthew 16:19) given to Peter? What are the “keys to the kingdom”? What do they “bind and loose”?

What Greek word translate the Aramaic word Kepha (John 2:41-42)? Why is the change ofPeter’s name significant, aside from the meaning of the name itself?

When and how did you come to recognize Jesus as “Messiah, the Son of the living God”?

In terms of the practical matters of everyday life, how do you answer Jesus’ question to Peterfor yourself?