Faith Questions

24th Sunday of Year A

Photo above is royalty free. Click on it to download it for free to utilize in parish bulletins, slideshows, classroom materials, etc.

“I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times.”


The Book of Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) was also known as the ‘Church Book’ as it was used to instruct new candidates for Baptism with all its lessons of wisdom for living. Today, forgiveness is the theme.

1. Are you ‘hugging tightly’ any anger or resentment? What behaviour is this causing in your life?

2. Breaking the chain of hurt, unforgiveness, violence is extremely difficult. Can you ‘remember the Most High’s covenant’ (the forgiveness of our sins on the cross) and knowing our faults have been overlooked… ‘overlook faults’?


Today is the final Sunday this year we hear from St Paul’s letter to the Romans. Tensions existed between Jews who kept all their ‘laws’ and customs faithfully, and Gentiles who did not feel the obligation of the ‘laws’ and ‘customs’ of the Jews.

1. Do you identify with a particular ‘group’ within the Church?

2. Do you create barriers and ill feeling toward ‘others’ not in ‘your group’? Paul reminds us we are not individuals or ‘groups’ but one. 

3. How could you be an agent of ‘unity’?


Encouraged from the previous Gospel episode of forgiveness, Peter asks Jesus precisely how generous does one have to be toward someone whohas sinned. Rabbi’s taught three times. Peter suggests a large and generous amount using the perfect number 7. Jesus pronounces an uncountable amount: 77 (double perfection!). Justice and its strict legal prescription is to be overwhelmed by Mercy and God’s love.

1. Do you have a struggle with forgiveness? Acceptance of or Giving of? Consider what you need to do.

10,000 talents is very descriptive. 10,000 is the largest number in Jewish Arithmetic. And the word ‘talent’ is a greek word for a weight of metal. It is the largest unit of measurement. 10,000 talents is equal to our phrase ‘billions of dollars’. It is an unrepayable debt. Strikingly it is ‘forgiven’. This same servant then refuses to ‘forgive’ someone owing him $100. He has been unmoved by the forgiveness
offered him.

2. Have you allowed God’s forgiveness on the cross to profoundly change you?

3. How could you express your acceptance of God’s incredible forgiveness?

A parable has within it the seed of subversion of the currently established patterns of operating. The King (God) in the parable offers forgiveness, and yet the full meaning of the parable indicates this forgiveness is conditional. The receiver is expected in turn to forgive. This is dangerous and unexpected.

4. God could change and take back an earlier decision? What will happen to me? What does living forgiveness involve for me?

5. What is one action that you will do to ‘livetheword’ this week?


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. What is my own experience of being forgiven by others and by God?

2. Have I known from my own experience the intimate link between the practice of forgiveness and prayer?


1. It is easy to feel superior to fellow Christians who differ from me/us. Can I identify that within myself in today’s Church?

2. We are all, without distinction, receivers of God’s astonishing grace in Christ—that must relativise the significance of some of our disputes…within and between the churches.


1. Jesus surprised Peter by telling him he needed to forgive seventy-seven times. Perhaps you have known the truth of this when something reminds you of a past hurt and you find your need in your heart to forgive again the person who hurt you. What was this like for you? How has a capacity to have a forgiving heart helped you?

2. Sometimes we need to forgive ourselves for things we regret about past behaviour. What happens to you when you cannot do this? How has your ability to forgive yourself for past mistakes influenced your attitude towards yourself now?

3. Are there people whose ability to forgive has inspired you? Recall them and the forgiveness they showed and give thanks for their example.


SOURCE: Hearers of the Word


Is it harder for you to forgive someone else or to receive forgiveness from them? As the reading asks, “… can he seek pardon for his own sins?” If you or your ancestors are the ones who need forgiveness, is there some way you might apologize/make reparation for actions that happened in the past, such as slavery or the destruction of the environment?


God created all things in love, entered creation, and rescued us himself. He does not leave us alone in this world or the next. Does thinking in such a way help you know you are loved? And if you are a loving person, would you have time for things like holding grudges? Might you just want to “live for the Lord”?


Do you think God wants you to forgive your neighbor just for your neighbor’s sake, or for yours too? We know that we need unlimited forgiveness ourselves. God loves us so much he has forgiven all our sins. Should those thoughts help us forgive others?


SOURCE: Sunday Web Site at Saint Louis University


1. When you made a retreat the last time, did you not say to the Lord, “Have patience with me, Lord. I will do much better from now on.” Ask your family or the members of your group to share with you some of the ways they have found helpful in “doing better from now on.” Surely, you may be able to share some suggestions that have been helpful to you.

2. Have you ever had a hard time forgiving someone who has grievously hurt you or hurt someone you love? What have you been able to do to come closer to the day of forgiveness? Do you at least want to see that day? What do you think would be helpful to you in bringing you closer to forgiveness?

3. What are some of the injustices that are being practiced in the Church in our times? Do we pray that God will punish or that God will forgive? Do we ourselves, as a community, make efforts to forgive? Or are we rather expecting retribution and adequate compensation? How can we contribute to the healing of those who have been hurt by the Church community?


Each of us should make a private list of the number of times we have been forgiven by God and the matter for which we were forgiven. Count the times! Make a parallel list of the times we have forgiven someone else and the matter which was forgiven. Count the times. Compare the count.


SOURCE: Portland Diocese


Paul is urging people not to judge others. In your opinion, what can cause us to be judgmental of others?


What are the obstacles to forgiving others? Name as many obstacles as possible, e.g., pride, the belief that someone does not deserve mercy, hardness of heart, etc., then name the primary obstacle that you may face in forgiving a hurt.

What helps you to forgive life’s hurts? What might help you to overcome whatever you name as the primary obstacle to forgiving life’s hurts?

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: If there is someone whom you have not forgiven, begin to pray for that person and for the grace to forgive him/her.


SOURCE: Ascension Catholic Parish, Melbourne, FL

Word Sunday


24th Sunday of Year A

The Price of Hatred

Life isn’t perfect but it can be lived in relative peace, only if the living make it so. Yes, forgiveness is difficult, but not impossible. And the alternative is much worse.

Name one person in your life you can forgive today. Resolve to forgive that person everyday until you forget to pray for them. Then you will know that you have done so.

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.

24th Sunday of Year A

Bless the Lord My Soul

“Bless the Lord my soul.” The term soul can mean “innermost being” or “life.” In the later sense, one’s life could be seen as a blessing to God. Indeed, the purpose of our lives is to bless the Lord. For the psalmist, blessing the Lord was the purpose of all creation. We are to join in the continuous blessing.

Reflect on your prayer life this week. How have you blessed God for his goodness and love? How can that sense of blessing be seen in daily living?

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.

24th Sunday of Year A

Belonging To Another

Have you ever been frustrated by your responsibilities to others? Have you ever felt your life was not your own?

“I’m in charge of my life.” The illusion of pure self determination can easily be swept aside by a little reflection. We have responsibilities to others. Sometimes, situations and conditions overtake us and change our direction. In these times, the best advice is to simply “go with the flow.”

While we might not be the complete masters of our destiny that we would like to think we are, we do make choices with our futures. We can choose to align ourselves with leaders and groups that share our vision and our values. Or, we can choose to be loners. When we become a part of a group, we surrender part of our self-determination for the good and the goals of the group. When we pledge our support to a leader, we give that leader a power of persuasion over us (and, in some cases, a power of determination).

As Christians, we are not our own simply because we have placed our trust, our lives, and our destinies in the hands of the Lord. When we first called upon Jesus as “Lord,” we surrendered our self-determination to Another. But sometimes we forget that surrender when we criticize others for the controversial nature of their actions. In criticism, we make ourselves as judge and jury, quickly condemning those who offend us.

Paul faced the same problem with his readers in Rome. Gentile converts offended Jewish Christians for their disregard of the Sabbath or their insistence on eating non-kosher food (see Romans 14:1-6). Paul retorted with a challenged of vision.

Can critics in the community really judge when they pledged their trust to the Lord, the judge of all? Doesn’t the Lordship of Christ make all these controversies trivial in comparison?

Faith should change our outlook. Truly, we are the Lord’s both in life and in death. We are not our own, for we belong to Another who will raise us up and give us new life.

How does your faith in Christ help you to be more understanding and loving toward those who offend you? How does your relationship with Christ help ease your burdens?

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.

24th Sunday of Year A

Continual Forgiveness

Is there someone in your life who is difficult to forgive?

What do you do when someone continually hurts you?

What do you do when someone has hurt you deeply?

Through habit or mean intention, some people create an atmosphere of pain that makes living the Christian life almost impossible. As much as we try, forgiveness seems to slip away. Hatred and emotional distance take its place. At these times, we want to cry out, “Lord! I have really tried. And, I’ve had enough!”

Peter asked Jesus the same question. At what point is forgiveness absurd?

Remember the source of forgiveness. Jesus answered. Remember the source.

How do people measure forgiveness? How does God measure our forgiveness?

How is conversion a live-long journey for you? How has God helped you to realize that his forgiveness is on-going and never ending? How has that fact affected your relations with others, especially those who habitually hurt you?

Make a short list of the people you find difficult to forgive. Pray for the realization God has forgiven you. Then (and only then) pray for the power to forgive them.

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.

Word Sunday


Lectio Divina

  • Which part of the parable struck you most? Why?
  • What counsels does Jesus give us to help us reconcile and forgive?
  • Looking in the mirror of the parable, with which character do I identify myself most: the king who wants to audit his servants or with the forgiven servant who does not want to forgive his companion?
  • Looking at the present situation of our family, our community, our church, our society and our world, is there among us a space for forgiveness and reconciliation so that reconciliation spreads among us? Where do we need to begin so that reconciliation may spread among us?