"O woman, great is your faith!"

These Sunday Readings for August 17, 2014 for fare among the most difficult passages in the Bible. St. Paul seems to be talking in circles when he talks to the Romans. While in the Gospel, Jesus appears to be cold, even callous to the woman crying out for help. We need to spend some time trying to understand these readings so we can profit from the Church's message to us today.

Sunday Readings' Discussion Questions

Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Aug. 17, 2014 (20A)

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: Can non-Catholic people go to heaven?

Questions on Sunday's Readings for use by discussion groups,
prayer groups, or for individual prayer.

First Reading

Book of the prophet Isaiah, Chapter 56, Verses 1, 6-7

1. In this reading God offers saving mercy to all people. If there were a continuum with one end being exclusive and the other aggressively inclusive (with passively non-exclusive somewhere in the middle) where would you find yourself?

2. Could inclusiveness be improved where you work, live, play, pray? How? What can you do to improve an exclusive situation?

Responsorial Psalm

Psalms 67:2-3, 5, 6, 8

1. This Sunday's Psalm response is 'O God, let all the nations praise you.' What does this verse convey about the universal appeal of our faith?

2. Our psalmist petitions God to bless us and 'let his face shine upon us.' In what way do you feel blessed by the Lord, and what does it mean to you to let the Lord's face shine upon you?

Second Reading

Letter of St. Paul to the Romans, Chapter 11, Verses 11-15, 29-32

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

2. What are the implications of these scripture passages for you?


According to Matthew, Chapter 15, Verses 21-28

1. What virtues did the Canaanite woman possess that got Jesus to answer her request? What is it about her statement, “Please, Lord, for even the dogs eat the scraps that fall from the table of their masters.” that made Jesus change his mind and grant her request to heal her daughter? Do you think he could have received an insight about his mission from his Father during this conversation?

2. This woman’s faith broke through some barriers that excluded certain people. What inclusion blockades do you see today that you think need to be broken through?

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

1 comment:

  1. Barry Lamont3:07 PM

    “May God bless us
    and may he let his face shine upon us.”

    So much that God does for us
    is contained in this verse from the Psalm.
    God gives us his grace
    through his son Jesus,
    who is our savior.
    God gives us material blessings –
    all our treasure and gifts are from him.
    But he gives us spiritual blessings as well –
    the well known fruits of the spirit.

    No wonder the Gentiles (that is us)
    were attracted to the faith
    when St Paul and Barnabas were traveling
    through the towns, visiting the early churches,
    and ministering to the Gentiles.
    They were doing as Jesus did when he
    encountered the Canaanite woman in
    the region of Tyre and Sidon.
    Though she was
    not a member of the house of Israel,
    Jesus recognized how great was her faith and
    the woman's daughter was healed from that hour.

    By ministering to the Gentiles
    the 'way' of the Lord became
    known upon earth among all the nations,
    as the Psalm says.
    Indeed the Psalm predicts that
    God’s saving power shall be known
    among all the peoples.
    Thankfully, that includes us.

    Today we join with the members of
    the early church in praising God –
    “May the peoples praise you, God;
    may all the peoples praise you.