"If your brother sins against you..."

In the Gospel for this Sunday, Sept. 7, 2014 (23), Matthew adapts sayings of the historical Jesus to address the new situation of an established local church in need of due process to handle difficult problems. He compels us to consider the essential elements in the process of forgiveness among members of the Church community.

Sunday Readings' Discussion Questions

Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time, Sep. 7, 2014 (23A)
From the
Center for Liturgy at Saint Louis University

Sunday Mass Readings
Podcast of the Readings 
Video of Reflections on Readings
Lecturas y Comentarios 
Prayer of the Hours
BQ: What do you think is the Worst Sin?

Questions on Sunday's Readings for use by discussion groups,
prayer groups, or for individual prayer.
First Reading
Book of the prophet Jeremiah, Chapter 20, Verses 7-9

1. Jeremiah couldn’t ignore the call to prophecy even though it brought him much suffering. Who today speaks out about injustice and is met with mockery? What social or economic structure of oppression would you like to transform so badly that you can’t keep quiet about it?

2. Would your first inclination be to avoid suffering if possible? Is it humanly possible to avoid all suffering? What are some good “by-products” of suffering?

Responsorial Psalm

Psalm 63: 2, 3-4, 5-6, 8-9

1. Our psalmist says his flesh pines and his soul thirsts for God. Have you also experienced a longing for God that is akin to being lifeless and without water? Explain.
2. The psalm is written by a man who truly loves the Lord, and yet even our psalmist experiences periods of separation from God. Do you believe that God reaches out even to those who do not believe in Him, and that their souls too are thirsting for the Lord? Give an example.

Second Reading

Letter of St. Paul to the Romans, Chapter 12, Verses 1-2

1. “For who has known the mind of the Lord?” How good are you at second-guessing God? Can you always figure out ahead of time where God is leading you, or what God is doing in your life?

2. Look at at the rear-view mirror at the highway of your life. Can you see where God was on the road with you?

According to Matthew, Chapter 16, Verses 21-27

1. “Lose your life for my sake and find it” What does Jesus mean when he says you will “find” your life? How does the “finding” apply to this life as well as the next?

2. You cannot take your money and possessions with you when you die. If you “lose your life” in love for others, does that give you something to take with you? Is it the love in your heart that goes with you when you die?

Online Sunday Bible Study Group
Please share your reflections on the Sunday Readings. May we be blessed by God's words as reflected in your thoughts and experience-sharing. 


  1. Barry Lamont11:30 AM

    "Oh that today you would hear his voice ...."

    Knowing God's will is hard enough; discernment is a gift from God. But even if we are gifted enough to be able to discern God 's will, will we have the courage and conviction to actually do His will?

    In our first reading Ezekiel is enjoined by the Lord to warn the wicked among the house of Israel and try to turn him from his way. In the Gospel, too, Jesus instructs the disciples how to deal with a brother who sins against a disciple.

    Doing the will of God must have been difficult even for the prophet Ezekiel; how much more so is the will of God a challenge for ordinary persons like us? Even the disciples must have been in awe of what Jesus was commanding them to do.

    Our spiritual history is full of occasions where the faithful were known to have hardened their hearts and refused to listen to God's voice,though they had seen His works, as our psalmist mentions. But after all, He is our God, as the psalm says, and we are the people he shepherds.

    Our job is to kneel before the Lord who made us and to carry out His will the best we can. And if we are careful to listen to his voice, He will empower us to do His will, just as Jesus empowered the disciples to rise up to the challenge of the great commission and to become ordinary men performing exraordinary deeds.


  2. elainesz6:46 PM

    I thank God that more and more each day He is giving me the gift of discernment. In the past 2 years, since I came whole-heartedly back to the Catholic Church, it is so painfully obvious to me when I see wrong doing. I want to tell the person, to warn him, but it is very difficult because it is true what Jesus says : the world will hate you because of me. I have found people who are so hard-hearted they don't want to hear the truth. I know, humbly, that I still have so much to learn, but I am trying to plant even tiny little mustard seeds that will bring truth and joy to those who are embittered by this world.