23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A
Sunday, September 10, 2023
Mass Readings for the 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A
- First reading – Ezekiel 33:7-9: “But if you warn the wicked, trying to turn him from his way, and he refuses to turn from his way, he shall die for his guilt, but you shall save yourself.”
- Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 95:1-2, 6-7, 8-9: “If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.”
- Second reading – Romans 13:8-10: “Owe nothing to anyone, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.”
- Gospel – Matthew 18:15-20: “Amen, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
Themes for the 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A
The readings for the 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A focus on a conversion of heart. We are encouraged to overcome sinfulness and to go beyond merely following the letter of the law and to truly love. And we are to support each other along the path to holiness and help each other overcome our sinfulness.
- Conversion of heart
- Sacrament of Reconciliation
- Overcoming hatred
- Social justice
- Spiritual Works of Mercy
See the Homilies and Reflections section and the More Thoughts section for further expansion on these readings and some reflection questions for the 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A.
Resources for the 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A
Melt My Ice Heart Game
Melt My Ice Heart game could go with a meeting focused on stubbornness or belief or change of heart. Or just for fun. Your teens will love it. Each team must try to melt a giant ice cube.
Washed Away Prayer Service
This washed away prayer service makes a nice accompaniment to the Sacrament of Reconciliation. It could also be used for a youth ministry meeting about forgiveness or baptism.
The Spiritual Works of Mercy
The Spiritual Works of Mercy are a way for us to accompany and encourage each other on our faith journey. The Spiritual Works of Mercy are acts of charity through which we show our love for each other by .
Receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession)
Consider going to a confession service as a family or with youth group or youth ministry. And then do something afterwards to celebrate this beautiful gift of grace from our Lord. Go out for pizza together or something similar.
Together We’re Better Reflection and Discussion Questions
This reflection focuses on Matthew 18:15-20. Jesus tells us to point out our friends’ faults. Is that really a good idea? Are we really supposed to point out each other’s sins?
Psychiatrist Icebreaker Game
In this game, the group has a problem. The psychiatrist has to figure out what it is. This icebreaker requires no prep or materials. It works well for six or more people.
Homilies and Reflections for the 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A
What Do We Owe Each Other?
Jeff Cavins talks about the one thing we all owe one another as he reflects on the readings for the 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A.
Is It OK to Judge Someone?
Is it OK to say that a person’s behavior is wrong? Or is that judgmental? Fr. Mike Schmitz explains in this video. Jesus tells us not to judge a person’s heart, but he does command us to judge the actions of others. So we should not condemn someone’s heart, but we can discern that actions are wrong.
Where There Is Right Relationship, There Is the Church
From Fr. Richard Rohr of the Center for Action and Contemplation. This gospel is about how to live in this world. It is mostly about the quality of our relationships. Talk to each other. Don’t gossip.
To Win Them Back
From Scott Hahn. “As Ezekiel is appointed watchman over the house of Israel in today’s first Reading, so Jesus in the Gospel today establishes His disciples as guardians of the new Israel of God, the Church. He also puts in place procedures for dealing with sin and breaches of the faith, building on rules of discipline prescribed by Moses for Israel.” Continue reading.
Judgment and Love
From Bishop Robert Barron. “If there is one absolute in our secular culture today it is non-judgmentalism. Some people, seeking to defend this point of view from a Biblical perspective, will point to Jesus’ famous enjoinder: “Judge not and you will not be judged.” But what should be clear is that this cannot mean that we never point out moral failures—for Jesus does that all the time. How should we navigate the ways of judgement and love? Our second reading, from Paul to the Romans, is eminently helpful here.”
From Loyola Press. “Today’s Gospel reading is taken from a chapter of Matthew’s Gospel, which is sometimes called the ‘discourse on the Church’ or the ‘church order’ discourse. In this part of Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus speaks more directly about matters of Church discipline and order.” Continue reading.
Correcting a Brother
Also from Bishop Barron. “The Gospel for today addresses an issue of tremendous practical importance—namely, whether and how we ought to engage in fraternal correction. This is the traditional term for constructive criticism of our brothers and sisters. Over and against the modern liberal etiquette of ‘live and let live,’ the Bible does indeed think we should engage in fraternal correction, and the extremely clarifying Gospel passage for today tells us how.”
More Thoughts for the 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A
Today’s readings challenge us to truly care about each other. If we only think about our own happiness, then we have missed the message. We are responsible for each other. If someone else is in need, then we must assist. And where there is corruption, we must stand up and object.
When we fail to say “that is wrong” then we are participating in the wrong. This applies to situations we find ourselves in as individuals, but also, perhaps more importantly, in society as a whole. We must speak out about when we see immoral behavior in our political systems and communities. We must hold ourselves accountable.
Reflection Questions for the 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A
- How comfortable am I in confronting wrongdoing?
- Is there an injustice in my community which I need to address?
- What do I need to sacrifice in order to foster justice?
Quotes and Social Media Graphics for the 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A
If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Oh, that today you would hear his voice:
“Harden not your hearts as at Meribah,
as in the day of Massah in the desert,
Where your fathers tempted me;
they tested me though they had seen my works.”
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