20th Sunday in Ordinary Time

“Woman, great is your faith!

Let it be done for you as you wish.”

Matthew 15:21-28

Begin with a few moments of quiet.

The intention is to open yourself to the presence of God within you and among those gathered.

Invite all present to sit comfortably.

When sitting comfortably, take three deep breaths, as you breathe in feel your lungs filling all the way up, when they are full slowly release your breath and feel your lungs emptying out fully. Repeat this three times.

Now return to breathing normally and make the sign of the cross:

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Invite each person present to take a few moments to reflect on:
Where in the past week did I encounter God in my life?
Where in the past week did I inhibit God in my life?

Allow time in quiet for this and then, after a few moments, invite those present to share on this, if they are comfortable to do so.
If you like to have some quiet music playing during this click below.

Led by the Spirit- Eric Nordhoff

Introduce the Gospel

On this Sunday we celebrate the 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time

In today’s Gospel, Jesus changes his mind! How is that possible? Twice in Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus limits his
ministry to the “lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matt 10:6; 15:24). In today’s story, however, a very feisty
woman, clearly not a daughter of Abraham, with her urgency and her witty retort, brings Jesus to recognise
the needs of those beyond the ethnic confines of the Jewish people. They are ordinary human beings too, just as much in need of the Good News of the Kingdom as anyone else.

Read the GospelMatthew 15:21-28
Read the Gospel aloud, even if you are on your own.

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.

Reflect on the Gospel

Sit quietly now for a few moments and allow the images created by hearing the Gospel to emerge. Use some quietening music again if you wish

Spiegel im Spiegel – Arvo Pärt

Use one or more of the following prompts to help in reflecting on this Gospel passage.

  1. Having met with rejection from the Pharisees Jesus goes towards Gentile territory and encounters faith in an unexpected place, in the Canaanite woman. His mission had previously been to his own people. This adds a new dimension to his mission.
    Have you had occasions when a chance encounter set your life off in a new direction?
  2. The Canaanite woman was not concerned for herself but for her daughter.
    Recall people you have known who have been committed to a noble cause.
  3. The initial reaction of Jesus to the woman was one of rejection but her persistence won a response from him.
    When have you found that persistence was needed to gain what you sought?
    What did that experience teach you?
  4. Who are the “Canaanite women” who call out for attention today—people in church or state whose needs are not being attended to?

Finish this part with a Prayer

God of the nations, to your table all are invited and in your family no one is a stranger. Satisfy the hunger of those gathered in this house of prayer, and mercifully extend to all the people on earth the joy of salvation and faith.
Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever. Amen.

Prayer of the Faithful

In the Mass, the prayer of the faithful are the people’s response to their reflection on the Scripture readings and are spoken to God in the second person. The following have been prepared by Roisín deJong for this weekend.

Begin: We believe O Lord that you love us without making any distinction. Help us to see you in everyone we meet, for all are your children, and you are the Father of us all.

For the Church, Your Children: that we may follow the example of Jesus in the Gospel and exclude nobody from our community. Lord hear us

For a just and fair society: that faced with all we have learned about the plight of those in Direct Provision we will be inspired by the words of Isaiah to “maintain justice and do what is right”:    Lord hear us

For our leaders: that your Holy Spirit will inspire our government to take steps in the battle against Covid 19 that are as fair as possible to all…. particularly in relation to vulnerable groups such as migrant workers and asylum seekers:  Lord hear us

For our children, and young people as they anticipate the re-opening of schools: that You will bless their return to formal education and that they and their teachers will be kept safe and well. Lord hear us.

For all who are suffering throughout the world, particularly the people of Beirut: that You will raise up people to support, help and comfort them at this difficult time.  Lord hear us

We pray for peace in this world in particular we pray that the peoples of Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Israel, will choose wise leaders to guide them down the road of compromise so that they may live together in harmony.     Lord Hear us

For our own intentions: name those intentions you specifically want to mention 
Lord hear us

For all who have died  ………. name those people you specifically want to remember 
Lord hear us

Gathering Prayer:

We believe and we know, O God, that you love the human race, without any distinction of persons or rank. Inspire us to see you in everyone we meet, for all are your children and you are the father of us all. Amen.

Close the time of Prayer with the Our Father

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come,
thy will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

Take a moment now to bring to mind those you want to share peace with, family, friends, those where your relationship is broken.

Deliver us, Lord, we pray, from every evil,
graciously grant peace in our days,
that, by the help of your mercy,
we may be always free from sin
and safe from all distress,
as we await the blessed hope
and the coming of our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen

Additional Resources

Fr. Kieran O’Mahony offers a scriptural analysis on the Readings in Written or on Video

Additional Video: On this weekend we invite you to use the video that the children’s liturgy is using. It is from St. Albans Diocese and offers another perspective on the Gospel and invites us to ponder it.

The Spirit of God is seeking to create a newness in our lives, that calls us to a fresh wholeness that requires much letting go of what we have known, and co-creating with God an undreamt-of future for our church, for our world and for ourselves. This does not mean forgetting the past, which has brought us to the present.

The Gospel life is about a new future in God. In an incarnational, evolutionary universe nothing is complete and God is still creating. We are a central part of this creation which is happening in our midst.