20th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A (2023)

Mass Readings for the 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A

  • First ReadingIsaiah 56:1, 6-7: “Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be acceptable on my altar, for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.”
  • Responsorial PsalmPsalm 67: “O God, let all the nations praise you!”
  • Second ReadingRomans 11:13-15, 29-32: “For God delivered all to disobedience, that he might have mercy upon all.”
  • GospelMatthew 15:21-28: “Please, Lord, for even the dogs eat the scraps that fall from the table of their masters.”

Themes for the 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A

The readings for the 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A highlight that God wills all of the world to be saved. In the first reading the Israelites learn that foreigners who follow the decrees of the Lord also worship God. In the second reading Paul speaks of his ministry to the Gentiles. And in the gospel Jesus heals the daughter of the Canaanite woman.

  • Being inclusive
  • God’s love for all people
  • Jesus came to restore us

See the Homilies and Reflections section and the More Thoughts section for further expansion on these readings and some reflection questions for the 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A.

Resources for the 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A

Us vs. Them – A Lesson Plan on Inclusion

This Us vs. Them lesson plan will help youth understand the importance of inclusion. It also addresses the gospel passage where Jesus interacts with the Samaritan woman and says “It is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs.”

Privilege Walk for Teens

A Privilege Walk is an exercise where participants consider how circumstances in their lives can be benefits or detriments. These are circumstances which are beyond their control, largely related to the families they were born into and the resources they have.

Prayer for an End to Racism

The sin of racism impacts all of us. Our communities are so divided. We don’t understand or listen to each other. We seem unable to make the sacrifices necessary to even the playing field for all of God’s children.

All Together Now – A Lesson Plan on Racism

Racism can be a difficult topic to discuss with teens. It is popular to think that we are “color blind”. But the fact is that the playing field is not level and that minorities do not have the same advantages as the majority. This lesson plan on racism introduces the topic of institutional racism.

Not in My Basket! Game

Not in My Basket is an active game where youth try to get their own balls in their own basket while keeping the other team’s balls out. This can be a good game to play for the topics of racism and immigration.

A Prayer for Our Nation

It is easy to look at the divisions in our country and the injustices and loose hope. But our merciful God is first and foremost our reason for hope. Let us place our country in his hands.

Homilies and Reflections for the 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A

God’s Heart for the Whole World

Jeff Cavins reflects on the readings for the 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A. Prejudice is when we prejudge people. We do that in the Church also. God chose Israel for the sake of the nations of the world.

Foreign Faith

From Loyola Press. “Today we move ahead in our reading of Matthew’s Gospel. Last week we read about Jesus walking on the water and the disciples’ confession of faith that Jesus is the Son of God. If we were reading Matthew’s entire Gospel, we would have read about Jesus’ debate with the Pharisees about Jewish purity laws.” Continue reading.

A Religion of Grace

From Bishop Robert Barron. “Christians have said for centuries that everything is a grace, that no one deserves anything, and therefore we should never complain about inequities. How can this be fair that some people are clearly chosen by God while others are not? Well, with this dilemma in mind, let’s look at our first reading and our Gospel for today. These passages reveal that Israel is named a chosen people not for their own sake but for the sake of the whole world. The key to understanding grace is that it is given to be given away.”

A Foreigner’s Faith

From Scott Hahn. “Most of us are the foreigners, the non-Israelites, about whom today’s First Reading prophesies. Coming to worship the God of Israel, we stand in the line of faith epitomized by the Canaanite woman in today’s Gospel. Calling to Jesus as Lord and Son of David, this foreigner shows her great faith in God’s covenant with Israel.” Continue reading.

The Gradual Overcoming of Racism, even in Jesus

From Fr. Richard Rohr of the Center for Action and Contemplation. The natural growth of the human person moves from self care, to group or family care, and finally to universal care. Many people unfortunately never get beyond the second stage.

Was Jesus Prejudiced Against Canaanites?

From Ascension Press. “It’s hard to imagine the Prince of Peace referring to Canaanites as dogs, but there it is. Or is it? … To understand what Jesus is and is not saying, we need to look at what happened before and after this.” Continue reading.

More Thoughts for the 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A

Jesus spoke to the Canaanite woman in harsh terms. We can wonder if Jesus was just reflecting the culture he was immersed in or if he was trying to teach a specific lesson. But in either case, we see the result of Jesus reaching beyond the comfortable circle of faithful Jews.

She did not follow the rules of the Jewish law. Certainly the woman was ritually unclean. It is no wonder the disciples were trying to get rid of her. But Jesus clearly saw that she had tremendous faith, despite her not being a member of his people. And because of that he restored her daughter’s health.

Reflection Questions for the 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A

  • Who are the outsiders in our church communities today?
  • How can we reach out to those who are seeking to break through barriers in order to encounter Jesus?
  • Who do I need to be more inclusive to?

Quotes and Social Media Graphics for the 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A

May the nations be glad and exult
because you rule the peoples in equity;
the nations on the earth you guide.

Psalm 67

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