20th Sunday Year A. Readings, Reflective Questions and Commentary. Number 10

09 Aug

Dear One and All,

Just a reminder that God’s Word, Reflective questions and Commentary will be posted on the website late Tuesday night. The realhomilie will be posted on Thursday nights. This procedure will give you the opportunity to digest God’s Word before the homilie comes your way. That being the case, the realhomilie will sit on top of this posting, so if you want to check the readings etc, you will need to scroll down through the homilie to get to it.  On the READINGS TAB, I have posted four Essays on Holy Communion, and soon I will post some more Essays on Christian Spirituality. To keep up with the FUNNIES, I post a new chapter about the very interesting Village of Finuge in County Kerry. This week we are up to Chapter 11….The Wedding of Ethan and Coleen.
Also, a small section was added towards the end of Chapter 10 about the Wedding Cake, and the special brand of Tomato Relish which comes from Australia.

I highly recommend a very inspirational, and thought provoking website hosted by Colin Lee, International Presenter, Coach in Senior Pure Maths, Science and Real life. His website is:    Colin and I have worked in Ministry together for a number of years, in the areas of Biblical Drama, Liturgy, Youth Ministry, Public speaking, Sacramental formation, and Ministry to the sick and infirm.  This is a great website…pass it onto your Teens….  Cheers, and happy Reading and reflecting on God’s Word,  Fr.Kev


                  CONTENTS  OF THIS SECTION

  • Readings for the Sunday.
  • Reflective Questions. For private or group use.
  • Focusing the Gospel.
  • Connecting the Gospel.
  • Understanding Scripture.



Try not to read just to read it and get through it. Got my drift? We can do this so easily. Take the Readings slowly….as you read, you might like to read it aloud. The sounds of the words help us concentrate and it helps us reflect as we read. Try and be aware of your breathing before you even start….it is better to be at 5 k.p.h than 50!
Enable words and meanings to gently jump out at you….soothingly take note in your mind as to what teases you as you read and see God’s Word. Don’t forget that the First Reading is always linked to the Gospel…..see if you can pick up the links.


First Reading: Isaiah 56:1. 6-7

Thus says the Lord: Have a care for justice, act with integrity, for soon my salvation will come and my integrity be manifest. Foreigners who have attached themselves to the Lord to serve him and to love his name and be his servants – all who observe the sabbath, not profaning it, and cling to my covenant – these I will bring to my holy mountain. I will make them joyful in my house of prayer. Their holocausts and their sacrifices will be accepted on my altar, for my house will be called a house of prayer for all the peoples.

This is the word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.

  RESPONSORIAL Psalm: Ps 66:2-3. 5-6. 8

R. O God, let all the nations praise you!

O God, be gracious and bless us and let your face shed its light upon us. So will your ways be known upon earth and all nations learn your saving help. R.

Let the nations be glad and exult for you rule the world with justice. With fairness you rule the peoples, you guide the nations on earth. R.

Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you. May God still give us his blessing till the ends of the earth revere him. R.

       Second Reading: Romans 11:13-15. 29-32

Let me tell you pagans this: I have been sent to the pagans as their apostle, and I am proud of being sent, but the purpose of it is to make my own people envious of you, and in this way save some of them. Since their rejection meant the reconciliation of the world, do you know what their admission will mean? Nothing less than a resurrection from the dead! God never takes back his gifts or revokes his choice.

Just as you changed from being disobedient to God, and now enjoy mercy because of their disobedience, so those who are disobedient now – and only because of the mercy shown to you – will also enjoy mercy eventually. God has imprisoned all men in their own disobedience only to show mercy to all mankind.

This is the word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.

Gospel: Matthew 15:21-28

Jesus left Gennesaret and withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. Then out came a Canaanite woman from that district and started shouting, ‘Sir, Son of David, take pity on me. My daughter is tormented by a devil.’ But he answered her not a word. And his disciples went and pleaded with him. ‘Give her what she wants,’ they said ‘because she is shouting after us.’ He said in reply, ‘I was sent only to the lost sheep of the House of Israel.’ But the woman had come up and was kneeling at his feet. ‘Lord,’ she said ‘help me.’ He replied, ‘It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the house-dogs.’ She retorted, ‘Ah yes, sir; but even house-dogs can eat the scraps that fall from their master’s table.’ Then Jesus answered her, ‘Woman, you have great faith. Let your wish be granted.’ And from that moment her daughter was well again.

This is the Gospel of the Lord. Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.


How about going back to the First Reading and see if the link between it and the Gospel becomes more evident to you.

REFLECTIVE QUESTIONS:::::::  POINTS TO PONDER  ‘Lord, what are you saying to me through your Holy Word today?’


  1.  Lord, what are you saying to me through your word? What response can I make to your invitation?
  2.  What strikes you as you read this Gospel reading? Why?
  3.  What do you think is the meaning within God’s Word in the first Reading?
  4.  The Sabbath Day is the one that concluded the creation story epic; what did the Lord God really do on that day, and why?
  5.  Think back over your life time…when and how have you heard God nudging you, and encouraging
    you to act with Justice and Integrity?
  6.  In the first reading, we see the Lord God, inviting the people to come to the Holy Mountain; Mountains and Hills in Scripture are places where the Lord God is revealed in a special way; it can cause people to pause and be silent so that all that is happening can be taken in. As you look back over your life where have been those Holy Mountains, where you have been literally ‘speechless’ because of all that is being revealed to you? (This is a tough question, but you can easily answer it after some reflection.)
  7.  In the Gospel reading we see the radical reality that ALL are welcome at God’s Holy Mountain. What challenges do you see for our Christian community nowadays in regards to this issue?
  8.  From your reading and reflection, can you make out the subtle thread which runs between the first reading, and the Gospel? If, so what is it?


Try not to be afraid of this question….just quietly go back over the Gospel passage, and see what jumps out at you; is it an invitation? Is it a challenge? Let the message of God’s Word in all its richness, enter into your whole being…like sandalwood oil seeping gently into a beautiful Tasmanian oak floor, leaving behind its precious scent…..



Focusing the Gospel

Key words and phrases

A Canaanite woman from that district and started shouting, ‘Sir, Son of David, take pity on me’.

‘Lord,’ she said ‘help me’.

Woman, you have great faith. Let your wish be granted.

Thus says the Lord: Have a care for justice, act with integrity.

God never takes back his gifts or revokes his choice.

to the point

In this gospel Jesus declares that his mission is only to ‘the house of Israel.’ Yet his compassion/pity for a Canaanite woman in urgent need compels him to heal the daughter of the foreigner. The encounter between Jesus and the woman reveals the mercy of Jesus, the power of faith, and the gift of salvation for all people – even those who do not belong to ‘the house of Israel.’

Connecting the Gospel

to last Sunday

Whereas in last Sunday’s gospel Peter first cries ‘save me’ and only then recognises who Jesus is and pays him homage, in this Sunday’s gospel the Canaanite woman immediately recognises Jesus, pays him homage, and then begs for help. To Peter Jesus says, ‘O you of little faith’; to this woman he says, ‘great is your faith.’

to culture

Recent decades have made us sensitive to the cry of women for justice. The experience of women today helps us understand and empathise with the marginalised woman in this gospel.

Understanding Scripture

Salvation for Gentiles

There are several troublesome features in this Sunday’s gospel story: initially, Jesus did not answer the woman; the disciples are eager to send her away; Jesus submits to their suggestion by telling the woman that his mission is ‘only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel,’ i.e., not to Canaanites; Jesus compares her and foreigners to ‘dogs.’ If Matthew’s goal in this story were to present biographical details about, or psychological insights into, Jesus then we would be rightly scandalised. It seems more likely, however, that Matthew is addressing the thorny issue which his own community is facing in the 80s: where do Gentiles fit into the Church’s mission? Because Matthew’s community is made up of both Jewish and Gentile members, there would have been keen interest in this story.

Some background. Jewish tradition began with a keen sense of Israel’s special election: ‘the Lord, your God . . . has chosen you from all the nations on the face of the earth to be a people peculiarly his own’ (Deuteronomy 7:6; cf. Exodus 6:7). As the tradition developed, Israel envisioned a time when all nations would come to worship the Lord (Isaiah 2:2-4). Eventually, Israel understood that its mission was to lead the nations to God (Isaiah 49:6; Zechariah 8:20-23). There is a progression in God’s saving work: Jews first, then Gentiles through the ministry of the Jews. Jesus’ response to the Canaanite woman reflects this theology: the house of Israel
comes first.

Jesus’ reference to ‘the dogs’ is cleverly reinterpreted by the woman. Dogs have a place in the household and must be fed. She thus argues rightly that God is God of both Jews and Gentiles. Jesus is persuaded, however, not by her clever retort but by her faith: clearly, faith knows no ethnic limits. This offers guidance to Matthew’s community. While Jews may be first and Gentiles second in the biblical understanding of God’s saving plan, faith is possible for people of every origin and background. Consequently, membership in the Christian community is based not on ethnic origins, but on the response of faith.





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