Faith Questions

26th Sunday of Year A

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“A man had two sons…”


Ezekiel was a priest and a prophet with his people in exile in Babylon. Jewish people had a deep sense that sins of their ancestors had caused their current situation (in exile away from Home and their sacred Temple in Jerusalem). It was easy for them to ‘blame’ others for their current situation. They ‘blamed’ God that this exile was ‘unfair’. Ezekiel invites them to take personal responsibility for ‘sin’. Turn to virtue, do what is right and just. This is the way forward. God will teach us and lead us home.

Is there an attitude in your life of ‘blame’ rather than taking ‘responsibility’? Blame leads to death. Responsibility leads to life. What change do you need to make?


St Paul invites disciples to have the one essential attitude that will maintain unity: humility. Giving up an attitude of having special rights. Power. Influence.

Can you think of a situation in which being ‘humble’ would have saved a meeting, argument, relationship. How could you become more ‘humble’?


Jesus has now arrived in Jerusalem. Angry at his emptying of the Temple, the religious leaders challenge his actions and authority to teach. Jesus responds. Pious words and lip-service is easy. To be true children of God requires actions of doing the will of the Father.

In your own self assessment, how large is the gap between your profession of faith and the practice of your faith? In what area of your life is more ‘action’ required? What would motivate you to action?

Anyone can talk holiness, but it is quite another thing to live it. Consider someone in your life who ‘talks the talk and walks the walk’ of their christian belief.

How do they inspire your journey? How could you follow their example?

Both sons responses hurt the Father. No-one here is perfect. Jesus understands a priority for Jewish people is to show ‘honor’. The son who said ‘Yes, sir’ was honorable in front of the Father but it was soon revealed as empty and meaningless. Honor is shown ultimately in real obedience.

What will it mean for you to ‘walk the talk’ in obedience this week? Consider writing it down.

•A requirement for ‘tax collectors’ to be truly repentant and ‘right with God’ was to repay money to those who had been ‘over-taxed’. However it was impossible for them to know and remember all the people they had wrongly taxed. Tax collectors felt helpless and stuck in a situation of never feeling they could be forgiven by God. Jesus reveals this is not the case. God welcomes those who turn to him.

Do you know someone who needs help to hope and believe in God’s forgiveness? Consider praying a special prayer for them.


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. Ezekiel holds up the possibility of change in us and even in God. The sense of freedom is palpable—we are not chained irrevocably to the past. Reflect on your own experience of this reality.

2. Choice have consequences—not al- ways as dramatic as life and death— which can be serious. Reflect on your own significant choices and the effects they have on your life.

3. Are you facing a choice at present, a choice with major consequences? This reading may help in the discernment.



1. Working and living with others is always difficult. Even among Christians, the risk is that we “read” this reality politically and not, like Paul, spiritually, that is as part of our discipleship.

2. Jesus emptied himself: perhaps I have known people like that myself or have been called myself to some extraordinary act of generosity.

3. When I did I first say “Jesus is Lord” and mean it from the heart?



1. It is possible to be a dutiful and observant Christian, and yet feel there is something missing. It makes such a dif- ference when your heart is in what you are doing—so much better than just going through the motions. Where do you experience that most in your life?

2. The desire of Jesus for us to grow in that kind of committed, enthusiastic involvement in life. What encourages you to grow in this way?

3. The elders probably thought well of themselves in contrast to the tax collectors and sinners. Perhaps you know some unconventional people, ones who appear to ignore the ‘right’ way of doing things, and yet they have taught you something about true goodness.


SOURCE: Hearers of the Word


If we turn away from wickedness we are turning toward God. Spiritual writers call this “conversion.” Are we converted just once or do we experience conversion many times in our lifetime?


The reading says “ … humbly regard others as more important than yourselves, each looking out not for his own interests, but also for those of others.” Who is doing this now where you live? Are people working for racial justice? What about those trying to change the climate crisis?


Using the idea of “conversion” from above,* discuss the two sons in this reading. Which one needed to change and turn toward his father? Are you presently in need of conversion in any area of your life? What counts more in building community, saying some good words, or actually doing some good deeds? At which one are you better, words or deeds?


SOURCE: Sunday Web Site at Saint Louis University


1. Which of the two sons do you identify with in this parable: the one who said “Yes” but did not follow through or the one who first said “No” but then regretted it and went to serve? Can you share some event in your life that would illustrate one or the other condition?

2. Why do you think the second son regretted having said “No” to his father? Do you suppose the mutual love he and the father had for one another may have been a factor here? Surely, the first son was loved by his father, too! Why do you suppose he was not motivated by his own love for his father?

3. Look at your parish church community today. Can you see instances when the community has said “Yes” to God, for example at the Easter Vigil, and then said “No,” at least a few times, for all practical purposes, the rest of the year? Do you see any signs of corporate repentance and conversion on the part of the parish as a whole? What would you consider to be signs of community commitment to God and to the Gospel of Jesus Christ?


Consider making a commitment to some project of evangelization at work in your parish community: faith formation programs, social justice activities, etc.


SOURCE: Portland Diocese


How easy or hard is it for us to accept and embrace a God whose ways are sometimes not our ways?


Paul’s attitude towards life and death is quite astounding. What might help us to get to a point where we too could say: “For me, death is gain”?


As you reflect on your life, do you identify with either of the brothers in today’s parable? If so, share why.

If someone complained to you that God isn’t fair, how would you respond?

What can distract us from saying a whole-hearted ‘yes’ to God?

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: Try to be aware of how often you say ‘yes’ and ‘no’ to God and to people as you go through your day and week.


SOURCE: Ascension Catholic Parish, Melbourne, FL

Word Sunday


26th Sunday of Year A

The Judgment of the Righteous

Why is it easy to judge others harshly?

Good people can be tempted in three ways. First, based upon their high moral standards, they assume they can judge others. Second, their own sins can be easily ignored. In light of the first two, people can make presumptions on God’s judgment.

When good people begin to compare their upright living against the sinners, they imagine themselves as the standard of morality. Such a comparison is itself sinful, full of pride as it is. It places the people making the judgment on God’s throne. They easily forget God is the judge. He is the standard of morality.

When people are self-assured, they might be tempted to moral delusion. “Life is good,” they might imagine, “I am moral; my sins are excusable.” Even great sinners can delude themselves into thinking they are morally right, with a few “minor quirks.”

When people become the standard of morality and dust away their own indiscretions, they can imagine they truly live with God’s favor. Of course, this is just as much an illusion as the other two presumptions.

How can we easily judge others or excuse our own sinfulness? How does God’s thinking differ from ours?

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.

26th Sunday of Year A

The Path of the Lord

How smooth or rough has your spiritual path been over the past year?

“No pain, no gain.” This popular dictum from body building does resonate with spiritual growth. The smooth times in life seem to yield little; the tough times seem to see leaps in insight and spiritual maturity. By no means should we seek tough times, but we shouldn’t shrink from them either. Facing the challenges of life does bring us closer to God.

Yet, “no pain, no gain” must be put into context. While we might see growth spurts in tough times, it is really the daily practice of faith that makes growth possible. Like a regular fitness routine, we must pray, study, and share faith on a daily basis and in a deliberate way. We can only realize growth by exercising our spiritual “muscles.” We cannot expect to show spiritual strength only when challenges face us, then conveniently forget about feeding our spirit in the good times.

How do you feed your spirit every day? How have your efforts given you comfort, even in the tough times?

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.

26th Sunday of Year A

Living the Way We Worship

How hard do you find putting the self interests of others ahead of your own? Why is this difficult?

Popular culture soon understood the strange notion of these Christians. The earliest image of a crucifix that exists is a mocking piece of graffiti. The image of a man with the head of an ass was crucified and the image of a slave lay prostrate at the feet of the dying ass-man. The caption was: “Alexander worships his God.” Clearly, the artist considered the Christian faith absurd.

Why shouldn’t we Christians look out for our own self interest? After all, such self-centered action is part of human nature; this is the course of action that makes most sense in popular culture. Yet, the Christian answer is amazingly simple. If we did, we would be guilty of denying the very image of the Savior we serve. Paul reminded his audience of that fact. Like the Philippians, we, too, should emulate the God we worship. Christianity was not built on spectacle, but upon humility. Like Christ, we should put others first. He died to show us that fact.

How can we align our faith and our actions? How can we live our lives the same way our Savior did?

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.

26th Sunday of Year A

True Change

How difficult is true moral change?

How has God called you to change? What changes can you see in your life from God’s call? What changes can you see in others’ lives from the call of the Lord?

Yes, the cynic in us all proclaims the immovable moral law. Change is barely possible, only open to the strong or the lucky. Sinners will always be sinners. Saints are merely sinners who put up a good front. (Of course, we who judge stand above all that!)

But, the call of the Lord declares everyone a sinner in the need of change. All of us, saint or sinner, are asked one question. Are we doing the will of the Father? This question even silences the cynic. For the cynic knows in his heart he does not, and hides his head in shame.

Where you think you hear the call of the Lord in your life? How is God leading you to change? Pray for the wisdom to clearly discern the Lord’s voice and the power to change.

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

Lectio divina is an authentic source of Christian spirituality recommended by our Rule. We therefore practise it every day, so that we may develop a deep and genuine love for it, and so that we may grow in the surpassing knowledge of Christ. In this way we shall put into practice the Apostle Paul’s commandment, which is mentioned in our Rule: “The sword of the Spirit, too, which is the word of God, is to dwell abundantly in your mouth and in your hearts; and whatever things you have to do, let them be done in the word of the Lord.”

Carmelite Constitutions (2019), n. 85.