Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time (September 6th) – Cycle A


By Deacon Ken and Marie Finn


Pray and ask God to speak to you through His Holy Spirit.


FIRST DAY Reread last week’s readings.

1. What was a helpful or new thought from the readings or from the homily you heard on Sunday?


2. From what you learned, what personal application did you choose to apply to your life this week?




(“You, son of man, I have appointed watchman for the house of Israel.”)

l. To whom did the Word of the Lord come, and who has been appointed watchman for the house of Israel? Ezekiel 1:3 3:17, and 33:7


2. What is Ezekiel to do for the Lord?   Ezekiel 33:7


3. If the Lord tells the wicked man that he shall surely die, that was Ezekiel to do, and what will happen to the wicked man?   Ezekiel 33:8


4. Who will be held responsible for the death of the wicked man?   Ezekiel 33:8


5. What will happen if we do not speak out?   Psalm 32:3


6. What happens to the wicked man, and how is he repaid? Isaiah 3:11


7. Who is the one who shall die?   Ezekiel 18:20


8. How are we to warn the wicked man?   Ezekiel 33:9


9. If he refuses to do this, what will happen to him, and what will happen to us?   Ezekiel 33:9


10. What kind of a God do we have?   Psalm 7:12


Personal – What do you say to those you see doing wrong within your household? What do you think will happen to you if you remain silent when you see those around you being sinful?




(“You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”)

1. What are we not to owe anyone, and what exception is there to this?   Romans 13:8


2. What has he who loves his neighbor done?   Romans 13:8


3. What is the virtue that binds all the rest together and makes them perfect?   Colossians 3:14


4. What is all summed up in “You shall love your neighbor as yourself?”  Romans 13:9


5. What did Jesus give us, and how are we to love one another?   John 13:34


6. How are we to treat others?   Matthew 7:12


7. What are we not to bear in our heart against our brother, and what are we not to take and cherish against our fellow countrymen?   Leviticus 19:17-18


8. What does love never do, and what is the fulfillment of the law?   Romans 13:10


9. What is love, and what does it not do? 1 Corinthians 13:4-7


10. Who is our neighbor?   Luke 10:25-37, concentrating on verses 36-37


Personal – Have you seen anyone in need this week, and how did you respond to that need? In what way have you loved your neighbor? Write down a time you loved your neighbor each day this week.




(“If your brother should commit a crime against you, go and point out his fault,”)

1. If our brother should commit some wrong against us, what are we to do?   Matthew 18:15


2. Who did Jesus say were brother, sister, and mother to him? Mark 3:35


3. After going to our brother who has wronged us, what have we done if he listens. If he does not listen, what should we do, and for what reason?   Matthew 18:15-16


4. What is laid down in the law?   John 8:17


5. If our brother ignores the others we have summoned, to whom do we refer him?   Matthew 18:17


6. If the brother who committed the wrong ignores the church, how should we treat him?   Matthew 18:17


7. Whom do we have no business judging, what should happen to those who bear the title “brother” and who is immoral? l Corinthians 5:9-13


8. Whatever we declare bound on earth shall be declared what, and whatever we declare loosed on earth shall be held what in heaven?   Matthew 18:18


Personal – How have you dealt with someone who has wronged you, in comparison to the above scripture?


9. What does Jesus say will happen if two of you join your voices on earth to pray for anything whatsoever? Matthew 18:19


10. What must we do in order to receive anything from the Lord? Matthew 7:7, John 15:7


11. Who is present when two or three are gathered in his name? Matthew 18:20


Personal – With whom have you joined your voice in prayer this week, and what has been the result?




(“Let us acclaim the rock of our salvation.”)

Read and meditate on Psalm 95: 1-2, 6-9.

What is the Lord saying to you personally through the Psalm?


How can you apply this to your life?




EZEKIEL 33:7-9

This passage tells us that God will hold us responsible for not speaking out in defense of his name to those who violate his teachings. We cannot say that it is not our responsibility to speak out because we are not qualified. Ezekiel tells us that God has called us to warn the wicked man of his wrong doings or to face up to the responsibility of his death.

Today there is a strong emphasis to turn the other way concerning wrong doing. A major philosophy of today seems to be, that if it does not affect me, why should I complain. For example: the rate of crime is staggering in many countries; the breakdown of the family is accepted as a price of progress. A tremendous financial profit is being made today in the areas of pornography, child pornography, prostitution, drugs, alcohol, smoking, and abortion.

Scripture tells us the wages of sin are death (Rom. 6:23), yet we remain incredibly silent with our Christian response to this barrage of filth. The essence of all sin is self, and it is the gratification of self that is tearing countries apart. The result of sin is death, and if we do not believe this, take a look around our communities and see the effects of sin. Many times the deaths and horror from AIDS are the results of drugs and immorality that can be passed on even to innocent victims in blood transfusions. Children are born infected with the dreaded disease through no fault of their own.

The rate of abortions has climbed to about 70 million a year worldwide. There has to be an end to the millions of people becoming zombies through the use of drugs and alcohol. Cigarettes kill more people than drugs and alcohol combined, and yet there is a silence in the Christian world. Silence indicates to many a degree of acceptance of the conditions.

I pray that you speak out in the name of Jesus and protest the wrongdoing that is going on in your own heart, your family, your community and your country.


ROMANS 13:8-10

St. Paul calls us to a complete sense of freedom in that we owe no man anything except our love. Jesus gives us his commandment, “Love one another as I have loved you.”(John 13:34). Jesus went further when he tells us all to love God with our whole heart, mind, and spirit and to love our neighbor as ourselves.

To many people today that does not offer much, especially when self-esteem, self-image or self-love have never been established. There are millions of people walking around who do not feel that self-worth or feel they are worthy of being loved. Jesus knows that and consequently he said, “Love one another as I have loved you.” You are so precious, and so valuable, that God sent his only begotten son to die on the cross at Calvary just for you.

Jesus loves us completely and unconditionally, and he loves us wherever we are. The incredible part of this statement is that he loves us to the extent that he will not leave us as we are. He will transform you if you will let him. Right now he is knocking at the door of your heart while you are reading this study (Rev. 3:20). Try to look for a picture showing Jesus knocking on the door and you will see something very powerful. There is no door handle on the door; it opens only from within. He will love you with an everlasting love. People perish simply because of the lack of knowledge of who he is and of his great love for them (Hosea 4:6).

We are told that God is love and that we love him because we learn that he has loved us first. God is love. Love is patient. Love is kind. Love bears all things. Love believes all things. Love is hope. Love endures all things, and love is the fulfillment of the law. Jesus tells us that if we live in him and keep his commandments, then he will live in us (John 15:7). To love your neighbors as yourself really means that God loved you so much that he died for you. We have to die to ourselves and be willing to do whatever it takes to help anyone who is in need of God’s love and mercy.


MATTHEW 18:15-20

The Gospel message tells us today that we are to go to our brother and tell him of his fault of sinning. Many ask today, “Who is my brother?” Jesus tells us in scripture that all who do the will of his Father are his brother, sister and mother (Mark 3:35). You can lovingly confront our brother or sister in Christ, if they are suffering or in pain but it should be done privately. (A wound will fester if it is not tended or healed right away.) If they listened to you and the problem is not resolved, then you know that the problem does not lie with you, it allows you to forgive that person so that he may become healed.

Today, bitterness and divisiveness rage among Christians because of misunderstandings. We are told in Scripture that we will be insulted because of our Christian beliefs and conduct and whoever is called on to suffer should not be ashamed but to give thanks and glory to God (1 Peter 4:16). We are not called to judge the pagans or unbelievers, rather we are called to confront the “brother in the Lord” who is living in sin. This can be done only in love and in accordance with Scripture.

Jesus tells us that even our love of family is not to come between him and ourselves. Also Jesus tells us that he is always present in our midst. Whenever we come together to pray in his name, our requests will be honored by his Father in heaven. We need to remember that to pray in his name means to be completely immersed in prayer with him. His name is all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-healing. Scripture tells us that every knee shall bend and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord (Phil. 2:11). To pray in his name means to have released all unforgiveness toward others. It means to confess all unrepented sins. To pray in his name means to remove all the blocks towards healing within ourselves.

When we pray in his name, whatever we bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever we loose on earth will be loosed in heaven (Matt. 19:18). Then in Jesus’ name we can bind the evil in one of our sinful brothers, and in Jesus’ name loose upon that person the power of the Holy Spirit. Joy, peace, love – the Holy Spirit brings all that heavenly power and faith. In Jesus’ name the honor and glory of the Father are accomplished. We can be an expectant pray-er every time we pray in Jesus’ name because we have his Word on it (Matthew 18:19-20).



The first reading tells us that we are responsible for speaking out in faith, and we are called to address the sinful actions of others. The second reading tells us that love is not love until it is freely given away to others, without any conditions. The Gospel tells us to confront one another lovingly in the name of Jesus when their conduct is out of order.

This week, speak lovingly but frankly and privately, to one of your loved ones who is not walking with the Lord. Remember, your silence may indicate that you agree with that person’s actions.

Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time (August 30th) – Cycle A


By Deacon Ken and Marie Finn


Pray and ask God to speak to you through His Holy Spirit.


FIRST DAY Reread last week’s readings.

1. What was a helpful or new thought from the readings or from the homily you heard on Sunday?


2. From what you learned, what personal application did you choose to apply to your life this week?




(“But then it becomes like fire burning in my heart.”)

l. Who is speaking and to whom is he speaking? Jer 20:1, 7


2. How did the Word of the Lord come to Jeremiah, and what was his response? Jer 1:4-7


3. What did he say the Lord did to him, what happened, and why? Jeremiah 20:7


4. What happens all the day long?   Jeremiah 20:7


5. Whenever he speaks, what is his message? Jeremiah 20:8


6. What has the Word of the Lord brought to him? Jer 20:8


7. What does Jeremiah say to himself?   Jeremiah 20:9


8. What happens to his heart and his bones when he does not speak out?   Jeremiah 20:9


9. Of what does Jeremiah grow weary, and what can he not endure?   Jeremiah 20:9


10. What did Paul say about preaching the Gospel? 1 Corinthians 9:16-17


Personal – In what way have you had a burning desire to teach or preach the Word of God since you have been studying his Word? Stop growing weary by holding it in, and share with those closest to you what the Lord has taught you.




(“…be transformed by the renewal of your mind,”)

1. To whom is Paul speaking?  Romans 1:7, Romans 12:1


2. What does he beg them to do to their bodies through the mercy of God, and how are they to do it?   Romans 12:1


3. For what was Christ’s death, once for all; and to what must we consider ourselves dead?   Romans 6:10-11


4. For whom are we alive, and what must we not let our body do?   Romans 6:11-12


5. To whom do we offer our body, and for what reason? Romans 6:13


6. To what must we not conform?   Romans 12:2


7. By what must we be transformed, and for what reason? Romans 12:2


8. From where does renewal come?   Titus 3:5


9. On what do we live that transforms the mind?  Matthew 4:4


10. How can we judge God’s will?   John 12:44-48, concentrating on verse 48


Personal – Through your study of scripture, what way has God transformed your mind this week? How has that affected those around you? In what way have you worshipped God in your body? Is your body holy and acceptable for worship?




(If a man wishes to come after me, he must deny his very self,…”)

1. Where did Jesus say that he must go, what would happen there, and by whose hand?   Matthew 16:21


2. What did Peter do and say to Jesus?   Matthew 16:22


3. How did Jesus respond to Peter, whom did he say was an obstacle to him, and how did Jesus say Peter was thinking? Matthew 16:23


4. What kind of Jews are nothing other than members of Satan’s assembly?   Revelation 2:9


5. Whom did Jesus say a man must deny, what must he take up, and what must he begin to do?   Matthew 16:24


6. What happens to him who seeks only himself, and how do we discover who we are?   Matthew 10:39


7. What is not self-seeking?   1 Corinthians 13:4-5


8. Whoever would save his life will do what, but whoever loses his life for Jesus sake will what?   Matthew 16:25


9. What two questions does Jesus ask his disciples in Matthew 16:26?


10. When the Son of Man comes with his Father’s glory accompanied by his angels, how will he repay each man? Matthew 16:27


11. How do we follow in Jesus’ footsteps?   Matthew 25:31- 40


Personal – Write down on a piece of paper things you have done this week that indicate a dying to self. Also, write down specific ways in which you are following Jesus. Read and meditate on Philippians 2:3-5. Give one specific way you deliberately thought of another’s interest before your own interest.




(“…with lips of joy my mouth shall praise you.”)

Read and meditate on Psalm 63:2-6, 8-9.

What is the Lord saying to you personally through the Psalm?


How can you apply this to your life?





Jeremiah was a prophet who served God for over 40 years. His message was coming to a nation that had rejected God and was sliding head long into ruin. Jeremiah was regarded as a meddler and a traitor. People, nobles and kings alternately tried to put him to death. Jeremiah had reached the point where, if he proclaimed God’s word, people became angry. They did not want to hear the truth from him, because the truth would convict them of their sinfulness.

Jeremiah is considered “out of date,” “not in the mainstream of today’s theology,” and “old fashioned.” He becomes a laughing-stock of the countryside. When he would not proclaim God’s Word because of the constant rejection, his whole body would constrict and his heart would become like a burning fire. He became weary of trying to hold it in and preach what the people wanted to hear. He could not do it because the call to truth was the call of God and he would not turn away from that call.

Do you speak God’s holy truth when you are among your friends, or do you fall into line and speak what you think people want to hear? Jeremiah never felt he was qualified to be a prophet, and he never had a following of adoring fans. He chose to go on because his heart was burning like a fire for the Lord.

Today’s passage is a tremendous message of hope to all of God’s children, and that message is that God loves you. He formed you in your mother’s womb, and he knows you by name (Jer. 1:4-7).

Do not let the voice of the world be your guide. Let the quiet whisper of God who spoke to Elijah in the cave be the source of your words.

People will laugh and mock us today for proclaiming God’s word, but that is all right because the Lord is our shepherd and we shall not want (Psalm 23:1). A shepherd always protects his flock, and we have a shepherd who loves us so much he even died for us.


ROMANS 12:1-2

The call of God is so vibrant in the message of the New Testament. He is calling us to believe in his only begotten Son, Jesus, and if we do, we will have eternal life (John 3:16). This promise is made by God to the whole world. Yet much of the world has rejected this message which lets us live life in all of its fullness.

Why is so much of the world not living a life of fullness (John 10:10) when so many know about Jesus Christ? The answer is sin. To live abundantly we must serve the Lord, Jesus Christ. Jesus showed us how to be an example of service by dying for us on the cross. As stated in this reading from Romans, we are to “present our bodies” in voluntary surrender to the will of God. God must control the use of the whole person, and we are to present our bodies as a living and holy sacrifice.

We have been called to be temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 6:20), and we must set our sights on what is above (Col. 3:1-2). Our temple of the Holy Spirit does not include drugs, alcohol or fornication. The world laughs at the description of our being a temple of the Holy Spirit, but Jesus commands us to be filled with his Holy Spirit.

You, my Christian friends, have been transformed by the power of God and no longer conform to the agenda of the world. Because of the Holy Spirit who lives in you, you now have the power to conform to the good, acceptable and perfect will of God; and you will enjoy a life that is physically, emotionally and spiritually full. Let your mind be renewed by God’s Holy Word, by spending time in quiet prayer and in fellowship with other Christians. And, finally, as the Psalmist so powerfully describes, “Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:11)


MATTHEW 16:21-27

Discipleship is very costly, and yet, it is a cost that we can not afford to reject. A disciple is a learner who follows the teachings of the master. Jesus tells us that if we really wish to follow him, we are to take up our cross and carry it in his name. Jesus took up his cross and carried it to Calvary and allowed himself to be crucified for us. He dies on his cross so that you and I could have eternal life.

We are called to carry our cross daily and do the same things that Christ did. We are called to die to self and to put others before us (Phil. 2:2-4). We look around and see so much turmoil in our world, and the main reason is that many people do not want to pick up and carry their daily cross. The essence of sin is self and the only way that we break the bondage of sin is to die to self. It is in the losing of our life for Christ or in the dying to self that the saving of one’s life happens. “Why are some people’s crosses heavier than others?” is asked by many people. The more one dies to self on a daily basis, the lighter that cross becomes. We see people going through some horrendous events in their lives and there is a sense of inner peace and joy. This is a person who has yielded to the call of Christ and has cast all his cares upon the Lord (1 Peter 5:7).

When we yield to the power of the Holy Spirit, he will empower us to become disciples of the Lord, Jesus Christ. We can go out and make disciples of others (Matt. 28:19) only when we have learned to die to ourselves and live for Jesus Christ. To die for Christ is very noble; to live for Christ is much harder. It calls for a daily commitment. We need to remember that anything we achieve or own in this life will end when we die. When we die to ourselves and pick up our daily cross and live for others in Christ, we will live forever in victory with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.



The first reading shows us that perseverance is a virtue of a prophet. The second reading tells us to live the abundant life, and calls for a commitment of our mind, body and soul. This week’s Gospel tells us that in order to live forever, we must die like Christ if we are to rise like Christ.

This week let us practice dying to ourselves in our family by trying to do some of the following:

Parents – set aside some time every day to share with each child and your spouse.

Children – find a time each day to serve a member of your family, such as helping a brother or sister do their chores. Help your parents around the home, or financially as they get older.

Everyone – Die to yourself in school or work by listening to

others and really hearing what they have to say.

Remember, to lose our life for Christ is the best way to rise with Christ.

Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time (August 23rd) – Cycle A


By Deacon Ken and Marie Finn


Pray and ask God to speak to you through His Holy Spirit.


FIRST DAY Reread last week’s readings.

1. What was a helpful or new thought from the readings or from the homily you heard on Sunday?


2. From what you learned, what personal application did you choose to apply to your life this week?




(“…and give over to him your authority.”)

l. Who is speaking, and where does he say to go? Isaiah 22:15


2. Who is Shebna, and what does Isaiah 36:3 say about him? Isaiah 22:15


3. What happened to Shebna?   Isaiah 22:16-19


4. Who does the Lord summon, and who is his father? Isaiah 22:20


5. With what does the Lord clothe and gird Eliakim, and what does he give over to him?   Isaiah 22:21


6. Who has full authority over heaven and earth? Matthew 28:18


7. Who established the existing authority?   Romans 13:1


8. To whom is Eliakim the father?   Isaiah 22:21


9. What will the Lord place on Eliakim’s shoulder, and what will happen when he opens and shuts the house of David? Isaiah 22:22


10. What did Jesus entrust to Peter, and what authority does that give him?   Matthew 16:19


11. How does the Lord fix Eliakim, and where does he place him with his family?   Isaiah 22:23


Personal – Where do you see yourself as far as “when you open, no one can shut; when you shut, no one can open?” How has God given you the key to forgive or hold others bound by your unforgiveness? Think about this, and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal his truth to you.




(“For from him and through him and to God are all things.”)

1. Fill in the following blanks: Oh, the depth of the ___________and___________and__________ of God? Romans 11:33


2. How is God’s wisdom made known?   Ephesians 3:10


3. In whom is every treasure of wisdom and knowledge hidden? Colossians 2:2-3


4. What is inscrutable and unsearchable?   Romans 11:33


5. What questions are being asked in Romans 11:34 and in Wisdom 9:13?


6. How has God revealed this wisdom to us?  1 Corinthians 2:10


7. What is given to God, and for what reason is it given? Romans 11:35


8. How are all things?   Romans 11:36


9. What is to him forever?   Romans 11:36


10. From whom do all things come, and for whom do we live? Through whom was everything made, and through whom do we live? 1 Corinthians 8:6


11. How was everything on the earth created?  Colossians 1:16


Personal – In what way do you show the Lord your love for him as the Great Creator? Take a few moments right now and praise him for the All Powerful Mighty God that he is.




(“Who do you say that I am?”)

1. To what neighborhood has Jesus come, and what did he ask his disciples?   Matthew 16:13


2. Who do the people say Jesus is?   Matthew 16:14


3. Who did Herod the Tetrarch say Jesus was?   Matthew 14:1-2


4. What direct question did Jesus ask his disciples? Matthew 16:15


5. Who answered Jesus, what did he call him, and who did he say was his Father?   Matthew 16:16


6. What is the meaning of Messiah?   John 4:25


7. What was Jesus’ reply to Peter’s answer, and who revealed this to Peter?   Matthew 16:17


8. What did Jesus declare to Peter, what will he build on him, and what will not prevail against it?   Matthew 16:18


9. What does he entrust to Peter?   Matthew 16:19


10. What happens when he declares something bound on earth and loosed on earth?   Matthew 16:19


11. What did Jesus tell his disciples not to do? Matthew 16:20


Personal – Who do you say Jesus is? Write out on a piece of paper who Jesus is to you?



FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 138: 1-3, 6, 8

(“You build up strength within me.”)

Read and meditate on Psalm 138: 1-3, 6, 8.

What is the Lord saying to you personally through the Psalm?


How can you apply this to your life?




ISAIAH 22:15, 19-23

This passage is the result of Isaiah’s prophecy of the destruction of Jerusalem. Isaiah warns his people against making alliances with foreigners and telling them they should trust in God alone for their future. Jerusalem was savagely attacked and its people were slaughtered. The real tragedy, in today’s reading, is the people had plenty of warning and chose to trust in their own ingenuity, weapons and even their pagan neighbors. Isaiah told them that unless they repented of their evil ways, they would face God’s punishment. They did not want to hear this kind of talk. They said, “Let us eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die.”

We need to reflect on how much we depend on God to help us in our decision making. Too often we turn to things which, though good in themselves, really will not give us the help we need. We must do all the necessary work today in our homes, community, and country, but God must guide our efforts. Today, national danger should be a call to national repentance. The essence of all sin is self. We are called to root out the rebellion in our spirit before we start to clean out anyone else. We can only do that by repentance, a complete change of mind (Rom. 12:2). We need to confess with our lips and believe with our hearts that Jesus Christ is Lord (Rom. 10:10). We can only repent or change when we obey God’s law and not man’s law (Acts 5:29).

Today we see people giving up hope and following drugs, alcoholism and immoral sex. The world’s response to hopelessness is despair and self-indulgence. The proper response is to turn to God and trust in his promise of eternal life (John 3:16).

Shebna was a high official who got above the Law of God and became a law unto himself. We see that type of individual in many nations today. Shebna was the peg that was pulled out of the wall and all his power and riches were gone. You are a good leader when you are building up others, and the source of your good leadership is Jesus Christ.


ROMANS 11:33-36

Paul tells us the greatness of our God is almost beyond description. The depth of his riches, knowledge and wisdom is far beyond the comprehension of our mind. Scripture tells us that “eye has not seen, ear has not heard, nor can man ever comprehend what God has in store for those who love him” (1 Cor. 2:9). The wisdom of God has been revealed to us by means of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is God’s guarantee that he will do what he has promised. The presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives is our assurance of eternal life with all of its blessings.

The world fears power, yet we belong to the God of the universe, who raised Jesus Christ from the dead. We do not need to fear any power whether it be dictator, nation, death or Satan himself. God’s incomparable power is for us who choose to believe in him. The Holy Spirit searches out and shows us all of God’s deepest secrets. These secrets are contained in Jesus Christ. The secrets are his resurrection and the plan of salvation which has been revealed to those who believe that what God says is true.

Those who believe and put their faith in Jesus will know all that they need to know to be saved. To really put on the “mind of Christ” we need to realize that it means to get a true perspective of humility for ourselves. We do not need to put ourselves down, that is not true humility. We do need to see that we are sinners, saved only by God’s grace. To put on the “mind of Christ” is to avoid selfishness, and the cure for selfishness is servanthood. This brings unity among believers and is a witness to unbelievers that God’s power is present in this world. We must always remember that selfish ambitions destroy church unity by putting one Christian against another.

The full glory of God is manifested to us in the Incarnation of Jesus Christ. God glorified Jesus because of his obedience. God glorified him by raising him to his original position at the right hand of the Father, where he will reign forever as our Lord and judge (Phil. 2:2-4). Jesus Christ was humble and willing to give up his rights in order to obey God and serve people. Like Jesus, we must serve out of love for a God who is all-knowing, all-powerful, all-wise, and the riches of his will all be ours through the saving grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.


MATTHEW 16:13-20

Today’s Gospel passage took place in territory ruled by Caesarea Philippi. The influence of Greek and Roman culture was everywhere and pagan temples and idols were extremely popular. The city was rebuilt and named after Caesar and called Caesarea.

Jesus asked the disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” They told him that many people thought he was a great prophet returned. Peter told him that he was “the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of the Living God.” Jesus was pleased that Peter was not fooled by the culture or the latest fad. He knew that his Father had revealed his identity to Peter.

Jesus tells Peter that he is a stable leader, a rock, and that he will build his church on that rock. Jesus personally tells Peter that his church would stand up victorious against even the gates of hell. This is a tremendous statement made by Jesus. We have a church that was commissioned by Jesus Christ who tells the whole world that his church will never fall. He gives Peter the keys of the kingdom of heaven, which means the authority to rule in his name. He tells Peter, “Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Jesus gave this authority to Peter and his successors who passed this on down until today.

A Catholic is forgiven his sins by a priest in the name of Jesus Christ. You can hold someone in bondage by not forgiving them and cutting off their supply of love. This will result in your damaging not only the other person but yourself too. You can loose the person of their bondage by your forgiveness and the result is freedom to both of you. Jesus wants all of us to be free, and he calls all of us into repentance. God has chosen each one of us to help someone find the way. Remember, to all who believe in Christ and obey his words, the kingdom doors are swung wide open.



This week’s first reading tells us to trust in God, not people. The second reading tells us that no one can fully understand the mind of Christ, but we can put on his mind by following his example. The Gospel shows how God built his church and gave Peter the keys of heaven to preach, teach, and rule. The church is guaranteed by Christ to never fail.

If you are holding a grudge against anyone and you are having trouble forgiving them, try the following three steps:

1. Forgive that person for what has been done to you.

2. Ask the Lord to forgive that person for what has been done to you.

3. Ask the Lord to cleanse your heart of the bitterness, resentment, anger, and the unforgiveness that you have towards that person who hurt you. This will bind the spirit of anger, resentment, bitterness and unforgiveness. It will loose the spirit of forgiveness and love and set you and that person free.

Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time (August 16th) – Cycle A


By Deacon Ken and Marie Finn


Pray and ask God to speak to you through His Holy Spirit.


FIRST DAY Reread last week’s readings.

1. What was a helpful or new thought from the readings or from the homily you heard on Sunday?


2. From what you learned, what personal application did you choose to apply to your life this week?




(“Observe what is right, do what is just;”)

1. Who is speaking, what does he say to observe, and what does he say to do?   Isaiah 56:1


2. Of what must you never grow weary?   2 Thessalonians 3:13


3. Whom are we to follow because all his works are right and his ways are just?   Daniel 4:34


4. What does the Lord say is about to come and be revealed? Isaiah 56:1


5. What leads to justification and salvation?   Romans 10:10


6. What are the foreigners doing who join themselves to the Lord?   Isaiah 56:6


7. What are the foreigners doing to the name of the Lord, and what are they becoming?   Isaiah 56:6


8. Whom will the Lord bring to his holy mountain, and what will he make them?   Isaiah 56:6-7


9. What shall he call his house, for whom is his house, and what will be acceptable on his altar?   Isaiah 56:7


10. What are we to offer continually to God, and with what kind of sacrifices is God pleased?   Hebrews 13:15-16


Personal – In what way are you keeping Sunday as the Lord’s Day? Are you made to feel joyful at church? Is it a house of prayer and worship for you? If you do not feel the Joy of the Lord at church, examine your conscience and see whether you have any of the following things blocking you: not doing what is right and just, not ministering to the Lord (the poor), not loving his name, not being his servant, not keeping the Sabbath (Sunday) free from profanity, not holding to his covenant.




(“God has imprisoned all in disobedience that he might have mercy on all.”)

1. Who is speaking, and to whom is he speaking? Who does he claim to be?  Romans 1:1, Romans 11:13


2. In what does Paul glory, and what is he trying to do? Romans 11:13-14


3. What does the Lord say about Paul in Acts 9:15?


4. If the Jew’s rejection has meant reconciliation for the world, what will their acceptance mean?   Romans 11:15


5. How were we reconciled to God, and how have we been saved? Romans 5:10


6. What are God’s gifts and his call?   Romans 11:29


7. What does Numbers 23:19 say about God?


8. What have you received through the Jew’s disobedience, and what did they also receive through this? Romans 11:30-31


9. Into what has God imprisoned all, and for what reason? Romans 11:32


10. What happens to those who conceal their sins, and what happens to those who confess and forsake them? Proverbs 28:13


11. What did God do for us in his great mercy, and from where does it draw its life?   1 Peter 1:3


Personal – How do you see yourself, as one disobedient and in need of a savior, or as someone who feels and has experienced the mercy of God through Jesus?




  (“Woman, you have great faith? Your wish will come to pass.”)

1. To what district did Jesus withdraw?   See whether you can find this on a Bible map Matthew 15:21


2. Who was living in that locality, what did she cry out to Jesus, and what did Jesus say to her? Matthew 15:22-23


3. When Jesus’ disciples came up to him, what did they say to him?   Matthew 15:23


4. What was Jesus’ reply and to whom was he referring? Matthew 15:24, Romans 15:8


5. What did the woman come forward and do, what was her plea, and what was Jesus’ answer to her? Matt 15:25-26


6. What did the woman call Jesus, and what did she say about the dogs?   Matthew 15:27


7. What did Jesus say the woman had that was great, and what happened to her daughter?   Matthew 15:28


8. What did Jesus say about the centurion, and what happened to his servant?   Matthew 8:10, 13


9. What did Jesus see in the people who brought him a paralytic, and what happened to him?  Matthew 9:2, 6-7


10. What will happen to the person who puts his faith in Jesus?   John 14:12


Personal – Examine yourself and see how much faith you have. How do you respond when a loved one gets sick? What do you ask from the Lord? Spend more time alone with the Lord this week and ask him to increase your faith. Listen to what he says and memorize Romans 10:17, “Faith, then, comes through hearing, and what is heard is the Word of Christ.”



FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 67: 2-3, 5-6, 8

(“May the peoples praise you, O God,”)

Read and meditate on Psalm 67: 2-3, 5-6, 8.

What is the Lord saying to you personally through the Psalm?


How can you apply this to your life?




ISAIAH 56: 1, 6-7

The Sabbath was the day set aside for prayer, rest, and worship. We are commanded by God to observe his Sabbath because we need to spend unhurried time in worship each week. Scripture tells us very clearly to remember the “Sabbath” as a holy day. Six days a week are for our daily duties and regular work. But the seventh day is a day of Sabbath rest before the Lord our God. On that day we are to do no work of any kind, nor shall our children or even our guests. “For in six days the Lord made the heavens, earth and sea and everything in them, and rested on the seventh day: so bless the Sabbath day and set it aside for rest.” (Ex. 20:8-11)

Today there are many people who ignore this special day and treat it with little or no respect at all. Sunday in many parts of the world, is a day of sports, not a “Day of the Lord.” Sunday was never intended to be a day in which you did all the odd jobs around the house that you did not have time to do during the week. We all need to ask ourselves, “Do I really give honor and glory to the Lord on Sunday, or do I just look at it as a day off from work?”

God has called us to make his house of prayer a place of holiness. He tells us that all who make his temple a house of prayer will receive his blessings. God is pleased with our sacrifice of praise, our joyfulness and our confessing with our lips that he is the Lord of our life. God shows us in this passage that if we respond to him, he will send his blessings upon us, no matter what our color, social position, work or financial situation. Remember, God’s blessings are as much for us as anyone else. Remember, Sunday is a day of adoration and fellowship with the Lord.


ROMANS 11: 13-15, 29-32

We need to remember that in the days following Pentecost, the new Christian church was filled mostly with Jewish people. Because of the missionary efforts of Peter, Paul, Philip and others, Gentiles became believers. It was not very long before the Gentiles, or non-Jewish believers, became the majority in the church. This turning from the Jews toward the Gentiles did not mean that God had abandoned them; it meant that when a Jew came to Christ, there was great rejoicing, as if a dead person had come back to life.

Paul’s vision was for a church in which all Jews and Christians were united in their love for God. Today our world is so much smaller and that vision is so much wider. There are many types of people in the Christian church today. We must remember that Christ redeemed the whole world by his death on the cross, and salvation is for those who accept and believe in him.

God’s mercy and his love are not limited to one special elite group. Scripture shows us that the Jews would freely share the blessings with the Gentiles. God calls upon us to bless each other and “Love one another as I have loved you.” (John 15:12) God’s mercy is intended to fall on all of his people. In Paul’s day there was tremendous brutality toward the poor, oppressed and the despised.

Today we see much mercy and compassion extended toward the homeless, the poor, those in the soup kitchen lines, and the prisons. We have a tremendous opportunity to extend the mercy and compassion of God to those who are suffering from AIDS. Brutality still exists in all segments of our society, because only by obeying the Word of God will we bring about a real permanent healing to our people.

When God’s Word is on every person’s tongue, and when every knee bends and everyone calls Jesus Lord, then and only then, will there really be a lasting peace in the world. All of us have experienced the mercy of God because he died for us, knowing full well that we would be sinners (Rom. 5:8). I have found in my personal life that my need for my Savior is a daily one, and it is only through daily quiet time and Scripture study I begin to feel his incredible presence.


MATTHEW 15:21-28

This Gospel passage shows us that faith is available to all people. Consider faith to be a response to the living power and presence of God in your life. The woman in today’s reading had a tremendous amount of faith in Jesus. Consider that in those days even approaching the teacher was very restricted. Yet, not only is the teacher approached and even being bothered by her begging, but all this is being done by a woman. There were no equal rights for women in those days.

This woman was taking a tremendous risk for her daughter’s sake. She responded to the living power and presence of Jesus in her life by insisting that he talk to her. The apostles were outraged that this woman was interrupting their schedule. The apostles did not hear the fright in her voice, and there was no compassion in their voices. We must always remember that even when we are about to do something good or even spiritual, we must always be ready to hear and respond to God’s call.

Jesus was incredibly impressed with this woman’s faith and he made no pretense about it. She was not a Jew and she knew that her boldness was out of order, yet she also knew that the power of life and death was standing right before her very eyes. Jesus knew that the disciples had become occupied with spiritual matters and missed the spiritual needs of this woman. He wanted them, and he wants us, to be aware of the opportunities that surround them and us today.

The woman didn’t mind the use of the word dog, and her faith in Jesus led her to ask only for the crumbs beneath the table, as even that was not denied to a dog. Jesus healed the daughter because of her mother’s faith. He will heal your children, too, if you really believe in him and obey his teachings.



This week’s first reading called for respect for the Lord’s day. The second reading showed how God’s mercy is open to all people, and the Gospel revealed faith as the response to the living power and presence of God in your life.

This week, do nothing on Sunday other than celebrate in church and spend time with your families. Do no work unless it is absolutely necessary. Parents, plan an activity with your children that will increase their faith. Children, this Sunday, study God’s readings and share them with your parents before going to church. Single people, join a church fellowship and get into a Bible study. Learn how his Word will make every day the “Lord’s Day.”

Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (August 9th) – Cycle A


By Deacon Ken and Marie Finn


Pray and ask God to speak to you through His Holy Spirit.


FIRST DAY Reread last week’s readings.

1. What was a helpful or new thought from the readings or from the homily you heard on Sunday?


2. From what you learned, what personal application did you choose to apply to your life this week?




(“Go outside and stand on the mountain before the Lord; the Lord will be passing by.”)

1. Where was Elijah, and what came to him? 1 Kings 19:8‑9


2. What did the Lord ask him?   1 Kings 19:9


Personal ‑ When you pray, how do you communicate with God? Does he ever ask you any questions?


3. Who is another prophet who communicated with God and the glory of God was revealed to him, and where did this take place? Exodus 33:6, 18‑23


4. Where did the Lord tell Elijah to go, and who did he say would be passing by?   1 Kings 19:11


5. What was hitting the mountains and crushing the rocks before the Lord, and where was the Lord not to be found? 1 Kings 19:11


6. What came after the earthquake?   1 Kings 19:12


7. What came after the fire?   1 Kings 19:12


8. What did Elijah do when he heard the tiny whispering sound? 1 Kings 19:13


9. What was the question repeated to Elijah by the Lord? 1 Kings 19:13


10. When Jesus was transfigured, where did he go, and who appeared with him?   Matthew 17:1‑3


11. How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings glad tidings. What are they announcing? Isaiah 52:7


Personal ‑ Where is the mountain of the Lord for you? In what way does God communicate with you?




(“I speak the truth in Christ: I do not lie.”)

1. Who is speaking, what does he speak, and what does he not do?  Romans 9:1 Romans 1:1


2. With whom does Paul’s conscience join witness, and to what is it he bears witness?   Romans 9:1‑2


3. Who bears witness to what Paul does?   Romans 1:9


4. What is the truth?   1 Timothy 2:4-6


5. What does Paul say he could wish for himself for the sake of his brothers, his kinsmen, the Israelites?   Romans 9:3


6. What does God tell Moses when he asked God to strike him out of the book that he has written?   Exodus 32:30‑33


7. What seven things does he say were theirs, and who came from them?   Romans 9:4‑5


8. Where did the Messiah come from according to the flesh?  Romans 9:5 and Romans 1:3


9. What does the term Messiah mean?  John 1:41 4:25


10. Who is over all?   Romans 9:5


Personal ‑ How do you show your concern for a family member, friend, schoolmate or work acquaintance who is not following the way of the Lord? In what way do you speak the truth, as Paul did, to those around you?




(“When he had sent them away, he went upon the mountain by himself to pray.”

1. What did Jesus insist his disciples do, and what preceded this?   Matthew 14:16‑22


2. When Jesus had sent them away, where did he go? Matthew 14:23


3. After Jesus was baptized, what was he doing when the skies opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him?   Luke 3:21‑22


4. Who was with Jesus as he prayed, where did he go, and what time of day was it?   Matthew 14:23


Personal ‑ Over the next 24 hours, see how much time you spend alone with the Lord. See whether you can list how many times Jesus prayed alone in the New Testament.


5. What was happening to the boat the disciples were in, and what time was it when Jesus came walking on the water towards them?  Matthew 14:24‑25


6. When the disciples saw him walking on the water, how did they react?   Matthew 14:26


7. What did Jesus hasten to do, and what did he say to his disciples?   Matthew 14:27


8. Who spoke up? What did he say to Jesus, and what did Jesus say to him?   Matthew 14:28‑29


9. When Peter got out of the boat and started toward Jesus walking on the water, what did he perceive?   Matthew 14:30


10. What happened to Peter when he perceived this, and to whom did he cry out?   Matthew 14:30


11. Jesus at once stretched out his hand and caught him. What did he exclaim, and what did he ask him?   Matthew 14:31


12. What happened when they climbed into the boat? What did those in the boat show him, and what did they declare? Matthew 14:32‑33


Personal ‑ What happens to you when you take your eyes off Jesus and dwell on what’s going on around you? What does Jesus do when you call out to him in your distress?




(“I will hear what God proclaims; the Lord‑for he proclaims peace, to his people,..”)

Read and meditate on Psalm 85:9‑14.

What is the Lord saying to you personally through the Psalm?


How can you apply this to your life?




1 KINGS 19:9, 11‑13

This passage shows us how God speaks to his people in all kinds of circumstances. Elijah had killed the false prophets and then, in fear himself, he fled from the pagan queen, Jezebel. Elijah experienced the depths of fatigue and discouragement just after his two spiritual victories, the defeat of the false prophets, and the answered prayer for rain. Many times discouragement sets in after we have had a very great spiritual experience. God let Elijah eat and rest (19:34), and then sent Elijah to the mountains to wait for him.

Elijah, like many of us do when we are under heavy pressure, began to think that he was the only one following God’s work. He became frustrated and fearful and began to lose sight of what God had in store for him. God asked Elijah what he was doing there, and Elijah told him that he was in danger of losing his life for following God’s orders. Then God said to Elijah, go stand before me on the mountain. Elijah then experienced terrific windstorms and even an earthquake, followed by fire, and still no sign of God. How many times do we look to see whether God is speaking to us in some spectacular way or event? The minute Elijah heard the gentle whispers in that cave, he knew that it was the voice of God.

God speaks to all of us, and the challenge for us is to be quiet and listen. He told Elijah that he wanted him to go back and continue on in his ministry, and not to be afraid of anyone. Do you feel as if no one really cares about you, or what you are doing? Are you afraid of what other people might think about you?

God will come to us just like he did to Elijah in that cave. He will speak in gentle whispers to a humbled heart, and he will change our lives. God doesn’t reveal himself ordinarily in miraculous ways. To look for him in just big rallies, churches, conferences or visible leaders may be to miss him. Are you listening to God right now? Step back from the noise and activity of your life and listen to his gentle whisper. If you listen, listen real close, you will hear him say “I love you.”


ROMANS 9:1‑5

Paul’s love and concern for his people was like that of a parent towards his or her child. Parents would do anything to prevent their children from hurting themselves, and yet the children must experience maturity and growth themselves. Paul tells them that they are fortunate to have such a loving, caring God, and it was not only foolish to ignore his teachings, it was also dangerous. Paul is willing to lose not only his life for his people, but also his salvation.

Today, as in this passage, so many Christians take their faith for granted. They assume their salvation is a non‑refundable object. Today, much of the world looks at God as sort of an amusing fantasy to which only oppressed and lonely people cling. Do you have such a concern for others who do not know Christ personally? How concerned are you for those in your own family who do not know Christ personally?

The real challenge to believing Christians today is how much are we all willing to sacrifice of our time, money, energy, comfort and safety to see our loved ones come to faith in Jesus. What do you think about most of the time? Where do you spend most of your free time? Remember, our treasure is where our heart is. We are called to seek his kingship first, and then everything else will fall into line (Matthew 6:33).

A loving parent, like Paul, would gladly die for a child, but like Paul, we see that living for Christ is harder than dying for Christ. To live for Christ means to die to ourselves every day.


MATTHEW 14:22‑33

The miraculous feeding of the 5,000 occurred on the shores of the Sea of Galilee near Bethsaida. Jesus then told his disciples to get into their boats and cross to the other side of the lake while he stayed to get the people started home. We then see him going up into the hills and praying far into the night.

Praying was the core of Jesus’ activity. He prayed in all circumstances. He was praying even when the skies opened up and the Holy Spirit descended upon him. He often prayed alone, no distractions, just complete union with his Father. We need to look at ourselves honestly and see how much time every day we share in personal prayer with the Lord. This is a time of tremendous intimacy and a time of hope.

The sea became angry and the storm threatened to overturn the boat that carried the disciples. It was early in the morning when, through the fog and heavy seas, they saw Jesus coming toward them walking on the water. They were terrified because they didn’t really recognize him and thought he was some kind of ghost or evil spirit. Jesus called out to them and Peter replies, still not sure whether it really is Christ, “If it really is you, tell me to come over to you walking on the water.” Peter began to walk toward Jesus and then he noticed the high winds, and when he took his eye off Jesus and began to sink he screamed to the Lord, “Save me.” Jesus instantly reached out his hand and rescued him. He looked at them and said, “Why do you always doubt me,” and as they stepped into the boat the wind immediately and obediently died down.

Today’s passage reveals to us how important solitude is to Jesus. He never began or ended anything without spending time alone in prayer with his Father. He was always equipped to handle anything because he was a man full of prayer. Spending time in prayer will help us meet the challenges and struggles of life. Peter sank because he took his eyes off Christ. You need to ask yourself whether you take your eyes off Christ, during a time of crisis.

Jesus is the center of all healing, and no other means can take his place. The high waves in our lives can be tension, turmoil, sickness, marital discord, and many other forms of destruction. When we keep Jesus as the Lord of our life we too will walk on water and stay above the raging seas of destruction. That really means that we will be able to walk through tough situations when we are focused on Christ, rather than the situation. We need not fear that we will sink in any kind of trouble because, just as Jesus told the men in the boat, “Do not be afraid,” he tells us the same. True love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment (1 John 4:18). There is no condemnation in one who accepts the Lord as his or her Savior (Romans 8:1). Pray about everything, worry about nothing and the peace that surpasses all understanding will be yours (Philippians 4:6, 7).



The first reading showed us the power of communication through a gentle whisper of God. The second reading dealt with the power of truth in all that we speak. The Gospel brought home the power of prayer, especially as we prepare to deal with the challenges of life.

This week, make a special effort to speak only the truth, and nothing but the truth, and speak in a clear and gentle manner to those in your family, in your work area, and in your school. His Word is truth. Take some extra time to be alone with the Lord so he can reveal to you what his truth is and how to communicate that to others. Always remember, before you speak to pray and ask the Lord to give wisdom and discernment. This sounds easy but it is not, because Satan, the father of all lies, will try to discourage you in every way he can. Remember, your actions tell others what you really believe.

Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (August 2nd) – Cycle A


By Deacon Ken and Marie Finn


Pray and ask God to speak to you through His Holy Spirit.


FIRST DAY Reread last week’s readings.

1. What was a helpful or new thought from the readings or from the homily you heard on Sunday?


2. From what you learned, what personal application did you choose to apply to your life this week?




(“Listen, that you may have life.”)

1. Who is to come to the water and who is to receive grain and eat?   Isaiah 55:1


2. Who seeks water in vain, and what will the God of Israel not do?   Isaiah 41:17


3. What does Jesus say he will give us?   John 4:10


4. What do we not have to do to drink wine and milk? Isaiah 55:1


5. Who is the bread of life, and who will never be thirsty? John 6:35


6. What question is asked in verse 2 of Isaiah 55?


7. What are we to do to eat well, and in what shall we delight? Isaiah 55:2


8. What are we to do that we may have life?   Isaiah 55:3


9. What will he renew with us?   Isaiah 55:3


10. What is the covenant or promise made to David? 2 Samuel 7:12‑16


Personal ‑ An invitation to come to him is given over and over in these passages. In what way have you come to him without feeling you have to pay in some way? In what way do you see this invitation as a free gift?




(“…we are more than conquerors because of him who has loved us.”)

1. Fill in the following blanks:

What will separate us from the _______ of __________?

______________ or ____________, or _______________, or ____________, or ____________, or _______________, or the _____________?   Romans 8:35


2. Because of him who has loved us, what are we? Romans 8:37


3. How does God prove his love for us?   Romans 5:8


4. Of what am I certain?   Romans 8:38‑39


5. List the ten things that cannot separate us from the love of God stated in Romans 8:38-39.



6. In whom does the love of God come to us?   Romans 8:39


7. What way are we to follow?   Ephesians 5:2


8. What does 1 Cor. 13:4‑8 say about love?


9. What separates us from God?   Isaiah 59:2


10. What is the way we come to understand love?   1 John 3:16


Personal ‑ In what way have you personally been a conqueror in your life? In what way are you experiencing the love of God in your life on a daily basis? Is your relationship with a family member or friend separating you from the love of God? What can you do to be reconciled with that person?




(“There is no need to disperse. Give them something to eat yourselves.”)

1. What had Jesus heard; how and where did he go? Matthew 14:1‑13


2. What did the crowds do?   Matthew 14:13


3. When Jesus disembarked and saw the vast crowd, what were his feelings and what did he do?   Matthew 14:14


4. Who, also, took pity upon someone and was moved to respond? Luke 10:30‑34


5. What does Mark’s Gospel say Jesus did when he saw the vast crowd?   Mark 6:34


6. As evening drew near, what did Jesus’ disciples suggest he tell the crowd?   Matthew 14:15


7. Jesus responded by telling them there was no need to tell them to disperse. What did he tell the disciples to do, and what was their response?   Matthew 14:16‑17


8. What did Jesus tell the disciples to do with the five loaves and two fish, and what did he order the crowd to do? Matthew 14:18‑19


9. When Jesus took the five loaves and two fish, where did he look, and what three things did he do with them? Matthew 14:19


10. What did the disciples do, and what happened to all those present?   Matthew 14:19‑20


11. How much was left over, and how many were present?    Matthew 14:20‑21


Personal ‑ In what way, this past week, have you lost the benefits of having your hunger filled through Jesus by either eating out or focusing on the preparation of the physical food?



FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 145:8‑9, 15‑18

(“You open your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing.”)

Read and meditate on Psalm 145:8‑9, 15‑18.

What is the Lord saying to you personally through the Psalm?


How can you apply this to your life?




ISAIAH 55:1‑3

This passage invites us to seek nourishment from the real source of food and water, not just a temporary source that satisfies only our bodies. Jesus tells us, as well as the woman at the well, that the water he gives us becomes a perpetual spring within us. We, then, are free from thirst forever, with eternal life (John 4:14).

There is a tremendous parallel in the functions of our spiritual and physical life. We spend money on food that lasts only a short time and meets only our physical needs. Can you imagine how people would react if there were notices in the community that all kinds of food and drink were to be given away for free? The response would be incredible and immediate. Yet that is what God is offering us right this very moment. He is offering us perpetual, living water and nourishment that will fill us spiritually. We can all receive this food for our soul, but first we must come to the Lord by responding to his call. We must listen to him, seek him out, and call upon the name of the Lord. God’s salvation is freely offered, but to nourish our souls we must openly receive it.

It is very important for us to remember that we will starve spiritually without his food, as surely as we will starve physically without our daily bread. As our bodies hunger and thirst, so do our souls. The living Word, Jesus Christ, can satisfy our hungry and thirsty souls.


ROMANS 8:35, 37‑39

This passage affirms our faith and hope in the Lord Jesus Christ by clearly showing us that nothing, not even death itself, can separate us from God’s love. The power of the Holy Spirit frees us from falling into sin, and we know that power is at our side always. If you were standing in a courtroom and waiting for the verdict to be read, what would those words mean to you if you were on death row? We must remember that the whole world is on death row, justly condemned for repeatedly breaking God’s holy law. Without Jesus Christ, we would have no hope at all. But thanks be to God, he has declared us not guilty and has offered us freedom from sin and the power to follow his will.

In the face of trouble or calamity, or when we are hunted down or devastated, the question continually arises, “Who can ever keep God’s love from us?” Are our trials and tribulations a sign that he doesn’t love us any more or that he even has deserted us? We need to hear, read, and believe the scriptures that tell us over and over that he will never leave us or take away his love from us. These words were written to a church that soon would undergo terrible persecution. In just a few short years, Paul’s words would turn into painful realities.

Today’s passage reaffirms God’s incredible love for his people. Today, in many countries throughout the world, these words are a tremendous reality. We must all be ready to lose everything we own and even be ready to face death itself. Christ did that and we are called to follow his example. It is very important for us to remember that no matter where we are or what happens to us, we can never be separated from his love. When suffering comes, it will not drive us away from God. On the contrary, through the power of the Holy Spirit, it will bring us closer to God. We will be able to identify with him, and allow his love to heal us.

These verses contain one of the most comforting and healing promises in all scripture. We may have to face the hardship of persecution, illness, imprisonment, even death itself. Any one of these hardships could cause us to fear that we have been deserted by Christ. Paul tells us that nothing can separate us from God’s love, because his death is proof of how much he loved us. Nothing can stop his constant presence with us. God tells us how great his love really is so that we will be totally secure in him and we will not be afraid. Because of Jesus Christ, you and I need not fear tomorrow, because we, too, can live forever.


MATTHEW 14:13‑21

Galilee was a small part of the country, and there were people from many small towns who heard about Jesus and flocked to hear him speak. Jesus was filled with grief over the news about John the Baptist, his cousin, and like many of us in our time of grief, he needed to rest and be alone with his thoughts. The crowd saw where Jesus was heading and followed him by land from many villages.

Jesus sought solitude after the news of John’s death. However, he did not dwell on his grief, and he returned to his ministry. He had tremendous compassion for those who came to him. He pitied them and healed their sick, even while he grieved. How many times do we feel cheated when we need to rest or just simply be alone, and the pressures of our families, jobs, or communities prevent us from being able to minister to ourselves through taking time for God in solitude and peace.

Jesus listened to the disciples complain about the crowd and tell him to send them away to the villages and feed themselves. Can you imagine over 5,000 people out in the middle of no where all of a sudden being told to go look for a place to buy food? Jesus’ compassion was in full force when he told the disciples to feed the crowd. The disciples were shocked and said, “Where are we going to get the food and how are we supposed to do it?” Whenever we come up against something that appears to be “difficult to impossible,” it is common to complain and predict failure. The impossible to men becomes the possible through Christ; and the 5,000 people were fed with just five loaves and two fishes. Jesus even provided enough food to have leftovers. Do you believe this story? Do you believe that with Jesus all things are possible?

Jesus made room in his busy schedule to be alone with the Father. His time of solitude was not to sulk, but to be with his Father in prayer. He knew that this time would equip him to meet the challenges and struggles of life. Jesus took the bread and fish and looked to his Father and gave thanks, and blessed the meal. He then, in confidence, broke the bread and distributed it to the people. The disciples were flabbergasted, the people were ecstatic and Jesus was thankful to his Father.

What about today? There are many people tired and in need of food, not just physical food, but spiritual food. Who is to feed them? We are, according to today’s passage. We are the disciples of Jesus Christ, and by our baptism we are called to go forth and make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19). We are to follow Jesus’ example and take time to rest in the solitude of God. We are not to dwell in grief and fall prey to self‑pity over our illness, misfortune or even death of a loved one. We are to give thanks, rise up and feed our brothers and sisters with the living, healing Word of God.



The first reading tells us to seek nourishment from the real source of food and water, not just temporary nourishment. The second reading tells us nothing, not even death, can separate God’s love from us. The third reading shows us how God wants us to feed our brothers and sisters with his Holy Word, and not be caught up in any self‑pity.

This week, try to bring the Eucharist to someone you know who is sick or shut‑in. Feed your family this week by reading a scripture passage everyday at the main meal time. Make a family visit to help feed the poor at a local soup kitchen. Remember, whatever you do for the least, you do for Jesus!

Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (July 26th) – Cycle A


By Deacon Ken and Marie Finn


Pray and ask God to speak to you through His Holy Spirit.


FIRST DAY Reread last week’s readings.

1. What was a helpful or new thought from the readings or from the homily you heard on Sunday?


2. From what you learned, what personal application did you choose to apply to your life this week?




(“I give you a heart so wise and understanding…”)

l. Where did the Lord speak to Solomon, and what was known about that place?   1 Kings 3:4-5


2. Who were Solomon’s parents?   2 Samuel 12:24


3. What did God say to Solomon, and where did he say it? 1 Kings 3:5


4. Why did God show great favor to Solomon’s father? 1 Kings 3:6


5. What did Solomon say God has made him, and what did he call himself?   1 Kings 3:7


6. Because of his age, what did he recognize about himself? 1 Kings 3:7


7. Whom would Solomon serve, and how many were there? 1 Kings 3:8


8. What kind of heart did Solomon ask God to give him, and what two things would this help him to do?   1 Kings 3:9


9. How did the Lord feel about Solomon’s request? 1 Kings 3:10


10. God was pleased with Solomon because he did not ask for what three things?   1 Kings 3:11


11. What did God say he would do? What kind of heart would Solomon have, and would there ever be anyone like him? 1 Kings 3:12


12. What has God given us through Christ?   Ephesians 1:9


13. Where is every treasure of wisdom and knowledge hidden? Colossians 2:2-3


Personal – What have been your requests from God this past week? How have you been praying for a loved one who may have strayed from the faith? After you have done the above study, what changes can you make in your prayers (requests from God)?




(“Those he called he also justified;”)

1. What do we know God makes, and to whom does he make this happen?   Romans 8:28


2. For those whom God foreknew, what did he predestine them to share?   Romans 8:29


3. Of whom might the Son (Jesus) be the first-born? Romans 8:29


4. Through whom has God predestined us to become his adopted sons and daughters, and when did God plan this? Ephesians 1:3-5


5. What did God do for them?   Romans 8:30


6. What did God do to those he called and in turn glorified? Romans 8:30


7. How does God administer everything, and how were we predestined?   Ephesians 1:11


8. What two things were our responses to being chosen in Jesus?  Ephesians 1:13


9. As was promised, with whom were we sealed?  Ephesians 1:13


10. How have we been justified? Romans 8:30, Ephesians 1:7, 13


Personal – What is your response to what Jesus has done for you personally? Do your actions in public show your belief? How do you act in a crisis? Is the reality of what Christ has done in your life visible to others in all circumstances? Reflect on this.




(“Angels will go and separate the wicked from the just.”)

1. The reign of God is like a man who finds a treasure. What does he do when he finds it?   Matthew 13:44


2. Again, like what is the kingdom of heaven? Matthew 13:45


3. What did the merchant do when he found a really valuable pearl?   Matthew 13:46


4. What did Jesus say we would have in heaven if we sell all our possessions, and whom are we to follow? Matthew 19:21


5. What does Paul consider a loss in the light of the surpassing knowledge of his Lord Jesus Christ, and for Jesus’ sake, what has he forfeited? Philippians 3:7-8


6. The reign of God is also like a dragnet thrown into the lake which collected all sorts of things. When the haul is brought ashore, what is done with what is worthwhile, and what is done with what is useless?   Matthew 13:47-48


7. What will it be like at the end of the world? Matthew 13:48-49


8. What will the angels do?   Matthew 13:49-50


9. What is the question Jesus put to his disciples, and what was their reply?   Matthew 13:51


10. By whom are we taught in order to interpret spiritual things, and whose mind do we have?   1 Cor 2:10-16


11. What is every teacher of the law like who is learned in the reign of God?   Matthew 13:52


Personal – Take an inventory of your life and reflect on the areas where you have been worthwhile or useful for God. Also, reflect where you have not been worthwhile or useful for God. How can you become more useful? Pray on this.



FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 119:57, 72, 76-77, 127-130

(“The revelation of your words give light, giving understanding to the simple.”)

Read and meditate on Psalm 119:57, 72, 76-77, 127-130.

What is the Lord saying to you personally through the Psalm?


How can you apply this to your life?




1 KINGS 3:5, 7-12

Today’s passage from the book of 1 Kings, is about Solomon, the third king of Israel. He was called the wisest man who ever lived. He sealed many of his foreign agreements by marrying pagan women, and he allowed his lust for women and power to affect his loyalty to God. Solomon is an example to all of us how effective leadership can be blocked by an ineffective personal life. He was a tremendous politician, diplomat, trader, and collector of fine arts, but he was very disobedient to God in running his own household. He had it all and yet he failed to obey God, and he did not learn repentance until late in life. Today’s story brings out what is really lasting in life and what is temporary. Solomon was given a chance to have anything he requested and he asked for wisdom to be a good leader of his people. God was very pleased at his request.

We need to ask ourselves: if God gave us the same chance to have anything we wished, would we have responded like Solomon? We need to ask for this same kind of wisdom. Solomon asked for wisdom to do what was expected of him, and today more than ever, we need to ask God for the wisdom to know what to do and the courage to do it. Solomon, like many of us, received great gifts; but again, like some of us, he did not apply the benefits of these gifts to all areas of his life.

You and I need to reflect on our own lives and discern how much we are living for God instead of ourselves. Solomon was wise, but he did not put that wisdom fully into action. Wisdom is both the discernment to know what is best and the strength of character to act upon that knowledge. Solomon asked for wisdom, not wealth, power or fame. God gave him all of this because of his generosity. Solomon sought only God’s Kingship, not anything else, and we too must do the same and have the courage to follow his way all of our life (Matt.6:33). You can be wiser than Solomon by putting God and his work first in your life. The real wise man is the one who has put on the mind of Christ and serves others rather than rules over others (Phil. 2:2-5).


ROMANS 8:28-30

Today’s reading from Paul to the Romans is one of the most powerful verses in the New Testament, and it is also one of the most misunderstood. God works out all things, not just a few isolated incidents, for our good. All that happens to many of us is not just good; sometimes bad things happen too. God is able to take them and turn them around for our long-range good. God is not working to make us happy, but to fulfill his purpose. We must recognize that this promise applies only to those who love God and are fitting into God’s plans. We are called to trust in God, not in life’s treasures. We are called to look for our security in heaven, not here on earth (Cor. 3:2-4). Then, and only then, can we learn to accept pain and persecution on earth, because they bring us closer to God. This sounds rather hard; but when the force of some catastrophic event slams into your life, the healing power of God’s love can take you through the dark raging waters.

God does work things out for our good. Many times we do not see them at first, but time shows us how God was very much present when we thought we were all alone. God’s ultimate goal is for all of us to become like Christ (1 John 3:2). God’s Holy Word reveals to us that we can become the persons we were created to be. We need to remember that God’s purpose was that no one should perish. We are all called to serve and to glorify God. The sovereignty of God should always be a reason for rejoicing and confidence, not of puzzlement or doubt.

Remember, if God gave his Begotten Son to die for us, he is not going to hold back the gift of salvation. If Christ gave his life for us, he is not going to turn around and condemn us. No matter what may be happening to you, just rest in his redeeming grace and he will work things out for your ultimate good, simply because he loves you.


MATTHEW 13:44-52

The kingdom of heaven is more valuable than anything else we can have, and a person must be willing to give up everything to obtain it. The kingdom of heaven is ours because of Jesus’ death and resurrection. His death bought our freedom and eternal life with him forever in heaven.

We might ask, who would oppose us in our goal to obtain the kingdom of heaven. In many places the tyranny of governments strictly puts the pressure of threats and physical harm on Christians, and in many cases, subjects them to public ridicule. We need only look around and see how society treats those who object to abortion. The people who choose pro-life instead of pro-death are many times arrested and sentenced to jail (Matt. 10:18-19).

Today’s Gospel passage deals with a treasure found by accident and the value was so great that everything else was sold in order to possess the great treasure. How much of your treasures are you willing to let go in order that you might possess the greatest treasure in the universe? We cannot serve God and money, power or status. We are called as Christians to go out and tell others of this priceless treasure.

We need to show others that they too may possess this treasure by giving up their temporary treasures and claiming the treasure of treasures, a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. We must never forget Jesus’ words in Matthew 10:39, “If you cling to your life, you will lose it, but if you give it up for Me, you will save it.” Jesus taught that the kingdom was now and he was the real treasure, not power, money, sex, or status. He tells us again today that to gain his treasure, we must let go of the earth’s treasures and cling only to him. If you sometimes doubt your salvation, the forgiveness of your sins, or God’s work in your life, look at the evidence in Scripture and the changes in your life. About what do you spend most of your time thinking? Remember, where your treasure is, there is your heart also (Matthew 6:21).



The first reading this week shows Solomon really choosing a great treasure in asking for wisdom. In the second reading we see Paul going beyond the quick fix, and in faith proclaiming God’s will for those who believe in the Lord. The Gospel brings us into touch with the what and where of our real treasure.

This week, let us use our spiritual vision and see what God wants to do with our lives. Look around and choose someone in the family, or in school or at work, and show by your action that you want to serve them and that their interest comes first. Your treasure is serving others in the name of Jesus. Serve them by doing a chore for them, helping out at home, or spending time with your family. Do not let anything interrupt.

Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (July 19th) – Cycle A


By Deacon Ken and Marie Finn


Pray and ask God to speak to you through His Holy Spirit.


FIRST DAY Reread last week’s readings.

1. What was a helpful or new thought from the readings or from the homily you heard on Sunday?


2. From what you learned, what personal application did you choose to apply to your life this week?




(“For your might is the source of justice;”)

1. For whom does God care and what has he not done? Wisdom 12:13


2. What does the Lord not show toward people, and how does he provide for all?   Wisdom 6:7


3. What must we learn from God?   Deuteronomy 32:39


4. What does it say of the Lord in Isaiah 44:6,8?


5. What is his might, and what does his mastery over all things make him?   Wisdom 12:16


6. When does he show his might?   Wisdom 12:17


7. What does he rebuke in those who know him?   Wisdom 12:17


8. Although God is the master of might, how does he judge and govern us?   Wisdom 12:18


9. What did we teach our people?   Wisdom 12:19


10. What did we give our sons, and what did we permit for their sins?   Wisdom 12:19


Personal – How has God shown his might to you personally and been lenient with you? Verse 19 tells us that those who are just must be kind. In what way, this past week, have you been kind to your family, friends, and those around you? In what way have you been lenient and forgiving to those around you?




(“The Spirit, too, helps us in our weakness,…”)

1. What does the Spirit do?   Romans 8:26


2. What do we not know how to do as we ought?   Romans 8:26


3. Who intercedes for us, and how does he do it? Romans 8:26


4. For whose sake are we content with weakness, and what happens when I am powerless?   2 Cor 12:10


5. Who is at the right hand of God, and what does he do for us? Romans 8:34


6. For whom are we to intercede, and to what will this lead? 1 Timothy 2:1-2


7. What does he know who searches hearts?   Romans 8:27


8. For whom does the Spirit intercede, and with whom is the Spirit in accordance?   Romans 8:27


9. For what does the Son of God search, and to whom does he do this?   Revelations 2:18, 23


10. What does God read?   Luke 16:15


Personal – How have you interceded in prayer for those around you? Who among your family or friends is in most need of prayer right now? Take a few minutes and intercede to the Father through Jesus for them.




(“The reign of God is like…”)

1. To what did Jesus propose the reign of God might be compared; and while everyone was asleep, who came and sowed weeds through the wheat?   Matthew 13:24-25


2. What happened when the crop began to mature and yield grain, and what did the owner’s slave say to him? Matthew 13:26-27


3. What did the owner recognize, and what did his slaves offer to do?   Matthew 13:28


4. What did the owner say would happen if they pulled the weeds, and what did he tell his slaves to do? Matthew 13:29-30


5. In another parable Jesus proposed, to what was the reign of God compared?   Matthew 13:31


6. How big is the mustard seed, and what happens when it is full grown?   Matthew 13:32


7. Jesus offered them another image. What is the reign of God like in Matthew 13:33?


8. How did Jesus teach the crowds, what was it to fulfill, and what was he to announce?  Matthew 13:34-35, Psalm 78:2


9. After dismissing the crowds, where did Jesus go, who went with him, and what was their request?   Matthew 13:36


10. Who was the farmer sowing the good seed, what was the field, the good seed, and the weeds?   Matthew 13:37-38


11. Who is the enemy who sowed them, what is the harvest, and who are the harvesters?   Matthew 13:39


12. How will it be at the end of the world, whom will the Son of Man dispatch, and what will they collect from his kingdom?    Matthew 13:40-41


13. What will the angels do with them, what will happen to the saints, and what should everyone heed?   Matthew 13:42-43


Personal – To what are you drawing others by your actions? In what way does the evil one try to plant weeds in your family, in your work, in school, or in your neighborhood? As you are growing side by side, how do you counteract the weeds?



FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 86:5-6,9-10, 15-16

(“For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving.”)

Read and meditate on Psalm 86:5-6, 9-10, 15-16.

What is the Lord saying to you personally through the Psalm?


How can you apply this to your life?




WISDOM 12:13, 16-19

This passage is a powerful testimony of God’s fantastic love for us and a testimony of God’s continuing leniency toward his stubborn people. God shows us his power and might most visibly in the way he forgives. He shows us that the greatest force in our world is not power, not might, but love. He very clearly tells us in Deuteronomy 32:39 that he is our only God and he wants us to love and honor him first of all. He tells us that he is in control of life and death. He shows us in Isaiah 44:16 that he is the beginning and the end of all things.

Jesus fulfills this prophecy when he said, “I am the Alpha and the Omega.” (Rev. 1:8). Jesus fulfilled all of these descriptions of God and his love of his people. The people rejected Jesus; in fact they killed him, because he called for a response of love. The people were expecting a great warrior-God to lead them out of poverty, slavery, and fear.

Today much of the world is in fear, and many countries are exploding with violence. Drugs, alcohol, and crime seem to be spreading throughout many cities. “Where is this wonderful God of mercy,” some ask, and like the Israelites in the desert, they, too, asked, “Is he in our midst or not?” (Ex. 17:7)

Our God is a God of love, compassion, and justice. He is a God who constantly forgives and encourages us to become healed. In today’s passage, we read of a God who is filled with power and yet rules with compassion and justice. Our God is a God who rules with great mercy, and that is what he seeks from you and me. He does not want our rituals or even our sacrifices.

Our God wants us to be merciful to one another, as he has been to us. We are all called to be a righteous people, a just people. To be really righteous or just, one has to be right with God first. We do that by following the words of Scripture that are in today’s passage. He is our God and we believe only in him. Jesus is our beginning and end. He is mighty and just, because he is kind and gentle. We will be a mighty and just nation when we are kind and gentle to all of God’s children. We must never forget that our actions tell others what kind of a God it is in whom we believe.


ROMANS 8:26-27

Today’s passage brings us into a time of reflection and response to the quality of our prayer life. We need only look around our families and communities to find many hurting people. We are told to dismiss all of our anxieties and to present our needs to God in every form of prayer (Phil. 4:6-7). Jesus showed us very clearly that he was a man of deep prayer. He would rise very early in the morning, go off to some lonely place, and be completely immersed in prayer. Jesus was very obedient in his public prayer routines, but it was when he was alone with his Father, or “Abba,” that he really poured out his heart.

Jesus reads people’s hearts and that is what he wants to change in us. He wants to give us a heart of flesh in exchange for a heart of stone. We must remember that believers in Jesus Christ are not left to their own resources to cope with problems.

Prayer is now being recognized in the medical world as a great protector against life-threatening diseases, especially high blood pressure. We do not have to succumb to our emotions; we can pray, and let the Holy Spirit take all of our concerns. There are times when we do not know what to pray for, or how to pray the prayer that needs to be prayed. The Holy Spirit prays with and for us and God answers every time. You do not need to be afraid of coming before God with your petitions. Just ask the Holy Spirit to plead for you in harmony with God’s own will.

Remember, when we bring our requests to God, trust that he will always do what is best for us, even if it does not make sense at that time (Rom. 8:28). We will find tremendous peace in letting the Holy Spirit pray in us and with us. We need to give ourselves permission to let our vocal cords make some sounds and let ourselves be led into a prayer of praise. We will then be praying in tongues, and the Holy Spirit will be talking within us and for us in Jesus’ name to our heavenly Father.


MATTHEW 13:24-43

All of the parables in this Gospel passage teach us about God and his kingdom. They explain what the kingdom is really like as opposed to our expectations of it. We need to remember that the kingdom of heaven is not just some place in the sky; but rather, it is a spiritual realm in which God rules and in which we have God’s eternal life. We are told that the thistles and the young blades of grass look very much the same and can not be recognized until they are grown and ready for harvest. The thistles are unbelievers and the wheat are the believers. They both must live side by side in this world.

God is like the farmer; he allows the unbelievers to remain in this world so the believers are uprooted with them. At the harvest the thistles will be uprooted and thrown away. God’s harvest (judgment day) of all people is coming, and we need to make sure our faith in Jesus Christ is secure. Jesus teaches us that we are to be mild and patient even toward the evildoers, letting the weeds continue to grow until harvest time.

Jesus wants us to inspire others interiorly, not to force them exteriorly. He wants us to be encouragers, not discouragers. He wants us to change people’s hearts, not just their minds. This passage talks about the mustard seed which becomes a very large bush, and we are to encourage others to let their faith grow. We are to show them how and not dominate them with our faith and our gifts. We are to let them make mistakes and urge them onward to better things. We are, in effect, like the leaven which enables the dough to rise into a loaf of bread.

The weeds that are growing in the field can be parts of our own temperament by which we dominate others. We may not be wrong, but we need to be sure we do not choke off anyone else’s growth. Most of the sins of a believer are the excess use of their good qualities. Those who are good administrators easily over-administrate and suffocate the spirit of others. Those who possess control over law, like lawyers, policemen, judges and clergy, can find fault with the innocent and enable the guilty to go free. Somehow the good seed which should grow into good fruit turns into rank growth. The yeast is to raise the dough into delicious bread, and if it is misused, we are left with a hard flat cake. Our good qualities should enable others to make the best of their interior gifts.



The first reading shows us that the greatest force in our world is not power, not might, but love. The second reading reveals to us that Jesus was a man of deep prayer. The Gospel tells us that Jesus wants us to inspire others interiorly, not to force them exteriorly. He wants us to be encouragers, not discouragers.

All three readings today draw much attention to our inner qualities of strength, inspiration, and ability. This week, draw out the inner qualities of someone in your family, school, or work, by encouraging them. You can do this by listening to them when they speak, and by giving them praise, not flattery, for something that they have done recently. Let them know what you like most about them. Finally, make a friend, be a friend, and bring that friend to Christ.

Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (July 12th) – Cycle A


By Deacon Ken and Marie Finn


Pray and ask God to speak to you through His Holy Spirit.


FIRST DAY Reread last week’s readings.

1. What was a helpful or new thought from the readings or from the homily you heard on Sunday?


2. From what you learned, what personal application did you choose to apply to your life this week?




(“It shall not return to me void, but shall do my will.”)

1. What comes down from the heavens and what does it do to the earth? Isaiah 55:10


2. What does it give to one who sows and one who eats and what shall go forth from the Lord’s mouth?   Isaiah 55:10-11


3. How shall it not return to the Lord, what shall the Word do, and what shall it achieve?   Isaiah 55:11


4. To what is the earth to hearken, and what is instructed? Deuteronomy 32:1-2


5. Who is the word?   John 1:1, 14


6. How long will the Word stand?   Isaiah 40:8


7. To whom do we turn to be safe, and what does he utter? Isaiah 45:22-23


8. What does God’s Word do for us?   Hebrews 4:12


9. Of whom does the Lord confirm the words, and how does he carry out his plan?   Isaiah 44:26


10. What does the Lord say about whatever he speaks? Ezekiel 12:25


Personal – In what way have you been a messenger of God’s Word to your family and friends? What results have you seen take place in yourself and those you contact as you have been reading and studying God’s Word.




(“I consider the sufferings of the present to be as nothing compared with the glory to be revealed in us.”)

1. With what is the suffering of the present nothing by comparison?   Romans 8:18


2. What will we do when his glory is revealed? 1 Peter 4:13


3. What does the whole created world eagerly await? Romans 8:19


4. To what was creation made subject, and by whose accord? Romans 8:20


5. From what will the world be freed, and in what will it share?   Romans 8:21


6. What do we await?  2 Peter 3:12-13, Rev 21:1


7. What do we know all creating has done?   Romans 8:22


8. Why are we weighted down?   2 Corinthians 5:1-5


9. Although we have the Spirit as first fruits, what do we await?  Romans 8:23


10. For what do we hope, and how do we yield to it? Galatians 5:5


11. What will he do to our bodies, how will he do it, and for what reason?   Philippians 3:21


Personal – In what do you place your hope? In what ways are you suffering, and how is your body groaning inwardly?




(“To you has been given a knowledge of the mysteries of the reign of God,….”)

1. As Jesus sat by the lake shore, who gathered around him? Where did he go, and what did he do at length? Matthew 13:1-3


2. Part of what the farmer sowed landed in four different areas. Where were these, and what happened to the seed? Matthew 13:4-9


3. What is everyone to heed and what did the disciples ask Jesus?  Matthew 13:9-10


4. What have they been given that others have not been given and what will happen to the man who has and the man who has not?  Matthew 13:11-12


5. Why did Jesus say he uses parables when he speaks? Matthew 13:13


6. What is fulfilled in them?  Fill in the blanks:

“Listen as _________ ________, you shall not understand;

look intently as _________ _________, you shall not see.”

Matthew 13:14


7. How are the people’s hearts? What have they done with their ears and their eyes? Otherwise, what might happen with

their ears, eyes, and hearts? Matthew 13:15


8. What would happen if they would turn back to the Lord? Matthew 13:15


9. What are those who see and hear? Who longed to see and hear what we see and hear, but did not?   Matt 13:16-17


10. What is the seed along the path and from where does the evil one steal it?   Matthew 13:19


11. What is the seed that fell on patches of rock and what causes this person to falter?   Matthew 13:20-21


12. What is the seed that was sown among briers, what two things choke it, and what does it produce?   Matthew 13:22


13. What is the seed that was sown on good soil and what does this person yield?   Matthew 13:23


Personal – When you hear the message of God and do not understand it, what do you do? When you hear the message, but have no roots, how can you develop roots? What do you do when anxiety and money come before your thoughts of Jesus and the well being of others?

What changes can you make in your life right now?




(“You have visited the land and watered it.”)

Read and meditate on Psalm 65:10-14.

What is the Lord saying to you personally through the Psalm?


How can you apply this to your life?




ISAIAH 55:10-11

In this passage Isaiah shows us a tremendous example of how God’s Holy Word is so dependable and long lasting. We need only look around at our world today and see what happens when rain and snow do not come upon the earth. There are droughts; then there are no crops, and the tragic result is famine. Yet, so many of us take for granted that we will never run out of water or experience a time of famine.

God’s Word is like the rain that falls on a dry, parched land. It brings forth a seed of eternal truth. The bread that is harvested from the spreading of God’s Holy Word is eternal bread; it is the real bread of life. God’s Word does not come back empty upon us. His Word is life-giving, like the soft rain on a dry desert land. His love for us feeds our spirit; and it changes our heart and inspires us to go forth and sow his seed of love, justice, mercy, hope, and faith.

Have you ever been so hungry and thirsty that you would do anything to get food or drink? Jesus is our drink, he is our food, and he will strengthen us to go forth and strengthen the least of his brothers and sisters (Matt. 25:31-41). Take hold of his Holy Word today and water the deserts of your mind and feed the hunger in your heart. You are his chosen one, he has called you by name, and his plan for you is to live a life that is at its fullest (John 10:10). God wants his Holy Word to fill all nations and bring them peace and harmony. We are called to be his chosen messengers by bringing his Word with us wherever we go (Matt. 28:19).


ROMANS 8:18-23

Paul tells us that there is a high price to be paid for being identified with Jesus. We need only look around our planet and see the results of nations that are being attacked by godless people and godless governments. Paul tells of the suffering Christians must face.

Today we might look around and say what kind of suffering are we to endure? The horror of abortion has become so commonplace that those who speak out against it are subject to ridicule, and economic and social rejection. Today many people are going to prison for the crime of trying to save unborn babies. We have read about the Babylonian god “Mardok” where the people sacrificed their children to the “fires of Mardok.” Today we see millions of children being sacrificed to the great gods of “greed and convenience.” The price for practicing our faith can be very high, and it can, in some places, result in death. We must not become complacent in the comforts of our society and ignore the responsibility to live as Jesus did. We must continue serving others, giving up our own rights, and resisting the pressures to conform to the world which always exacts a price.

We are people of hope and must not become pessimistic. We await God’s new order that will free the world of sin, sickness and evil. In the meantime, we can not watch, and stand by and do nothing, while they drag the defenseless innocents to their death. This passage refers particularly to abortion (Proverbs 24:11). We must remember that one day we will be resurrected with bodies, but they will be glorified bodies like the body that Christ now has in heaven (1 Cor. 15:50-56).


MATTHEW 13:1-23

Jesus used many parables when he was speaking to the crowds. A parable helps us to understand spiritual truths by using everyday objects and relationships. A parable encourages the listener to discover truth, while at the same time concealing the truth from those too stubborn or too busy to see it.

We see in today’s Gospel passage that the call to listen is very strong. We are to have eyes that really see and ears that really hear what is going on. This passage encourages all to become spiritual farmers – those who preach, teach, and lead others to the Lord. The farmer sowed good seed, but not all responses were good because of the locations. Do not become discouraged if you spread your seed of the Holy Word of God and it is not properly received. We need to remember that it is the Holy Spirit who opens up the hardened hearts of people. The miracle of God’s Holy Spirit will take place as he uses our words to move others to come to him. A human being can hear many types of sound, but there is a deeper and special kind of listening that results in spiritual understanding. We can be assured that if we honestly seek God’s will, we will have spiritual hearing and these parables will take on dynamic new meanings for us.

Jesus did not hide the truth in parables; those who were receptive to spiritual truth understood the parables completely. To others who did not believe in God, they were only stories with various meanings. The parables allowed Jesus to give spiritual food to those who hungered for it. Today, many times, God’s Word is proclaimed with little power and much confusion by messengers who refuse to be submissive to him. We who know Jesus personally are called to love others as he loves us. We are to be held accountable to the Lord if we do not follow his commands very specifically. If we reject Jesus, our hardness of heart will drive away even the little understanding we had.

The seed in today’s passage is the Word of God, and we are called to sow it to all we meet. The four types of soil represent the different responses people have to God’s message. Some people are hardened, some are shallow, some are very distracted by the world, and some are very receptive. How have you responded? What kind of soil are you? Remember, the Word was God, (John 1:1) and the Word became Flesh (John 1:14), and the Spirit that is in you is greater than the spirit that is in the world (1 John 4:4).



The first reading tells us that God’s Word is dependable, long lasting, and will not return empty. The second reading shows us that the cost of discipleship is very high. The Gospel reveals that the seed in today’s passage is the Word of God and we are all called to sow it.

Let us, this week, be faithful, humble messengers of God by reading our scripture readings to someone we know. Take the day’s readings and read them to a sick relative or a small child, a loved one, and especially your husband or wife. Study the readings, share what they mean to you, and LIVE THE READINGS, especially with your family. His Word will not return empty when you are being his messenger.

Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (July 5th) – Cycle A


By Deacon Ken and Marie Finn


Pray and ask God to speak to you through His Holy Spirit.


FIRST DAY Reread last week’s readings.

1. What was a helpful or new thought from the readings or from the homily you heard on Sunday?


2. From what you learned, what personal application did you choose to apply to your life this week?




(“…he shall proclaim peace to the nations.”)

l. Who is to rejoice heartily and shout for joy? Zechariah 9:9


2. Who is to come to you, and what is he? Zechariah 9:9


3. How is he to come, and on what is he riding?  Zechariah 9:9


4. Whom did Jesus send, with what instructions, and what was this to fulfill?   Matthew 21:1-5


5. What shall he banish from Ephraim and Jerusalem? Zechariah 9:10


6. What will happen to the warrior’s bow?   Zechariah 9:10


7. How does the Lord, their God, not save Judah?   Hosea 1:7


8. What does he proclaim to the nations?   Zechariah 9:10


9. Where shall be his dominion?   Zechariah 9:10


10. In whom do we find peace?   John 16:31-33


Personal – What message do you proclaim to your family, friends, or work acquaintances, and how do you proclaim it? How can you develop a peaceful atmosphere in your home?




(“If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.”)

1. In what are we not, in what are we, and who dwells in us? Romans 8:9


2. What have those who belong to Christ done?   Gal 5:24


3. Toward what is the tendency of the flesh, but toward what is that of the Spirit?   Romans 8:6


4. What must we put to death?   Colossians 3:5


5. What are the fruits of the Spirit?   Galatians 5:22-23


6. Who belongs to Christ?   Romans 8:9


7. What will happen to our mortal bodies if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in us, and how will he do it? Romans 8:11


8. To what are we not debtors, so that we should live according to it?   Romans 8:12


9. What are all called who are led by the Spirit of God? Romans 8:14


Personal – In what way are you living your new life in Christ on a daily basis? How do you know personally whether you are being led by the Spirit of God or by your own flesh?




(“Take my yoke upon your shoulders and learn from me.”)

1. To whom was Jesus speaking, and what does he offer him? Matthew 11:25


2. Fill in the following blanks: … for what you have hidden from the ________________ and the _________________, you have revealed to the merest ________________.   Matthew 11:25


3. Whom did the Lord choose, and for what reason? 1 Corinthians 1:26-29


4. To whom is Jesus talking, and what has been given over to Jesus by the Father?   Matthew 11:26-27


5. Who knows the Son and who knows the Father?  Matthew 11:27


6. Whom does the Father love and what has he given him? John 3:35


7. To whom does Jesus say to come when we are weary and find life burdensome, and what will he do?   Matthew 11:28


8. What will flow from him who comes to Jesus?   John 7:37-39


9. What are we to cast upon Jesus, what will he do, and who will he not permit to be disturbed?   Psalm 55:23


10. What are we to take upon our shoulders, and what are we to do?   Matthew 11:29


11. What two things does he say he is, and what will our soul find?   Matthew 11:29


12. How does Jesus describe his yoke and his burden? Matthew 11:30


Personal – What do you do and where do you go when the problems of everyday life are too much for you? How are you being weighted down by the burdens of life? How can you take your load off your back and put Jesus’ yoke there? What is Jesus’ yoke and burden to you?



FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 145:1-2, 8-11, 13-14

(“The Lord is faithful in all his words.”)

Read and meditate on Psalm 145:1-2, 8-11, 13-14.

What is the Lord saying to you personally through the Psalm?


How can you apply this to your life?





Zechariah was a prophet to the remnant of the Jews who returned from Babylon after 70 years of captivity. The Jews, once a powerful nation as God had planned them to be, were now a pitiful and insignificant group of left overs, dwelling in their promised land only because of the courtesy of a foreign ruler. Zechariah tried to tell the people that it would not always be so. He told them that one day the Messiah would come and God’s chosen people would once again be a light to all nations.

Zechariah foretells the character of Jesus more than any other prophet except Isaiah. He shows us how Christ entered into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey. This triumphant entry of Jesus riding into Jerusalem is predicted here 500 years before it happened (Matt. 21:1-11). He has described this king as a servant king rather than a warrior king. He goes on to describe a peace that will come over the land and nations shall live together in harmony. Zechariah talks now about a king who will rule sea to sea and from the rivers to the ends of the earth. This sounds like the second coming of Christ when all the nations of the earth will be subjected to Jesus Christ.

We are told in Scripture that every knee will bow to Christ and every tongue confess him as Lord (Phil. 2:9,10). We need to reflect on this prophecy that was fulfilled in this reading and be expectant that the prophecy of the Lord’s second coming will also be realized. We are all to be ready for his return; for, remember, he IS coming.


ROMANS 8:9, 11-13

Paul defines very clearly in this passage what being a Christian is. Have you ever wondered what would happen if you were arrested and charged with being a Christian? Would the authorities have enough evidence to convict you? Have you been challenged to witness to your faith? Paul tells us that a Christian is anyone who has the Spirit of God living in him. Many people think that when the Holy Spirit comes upon us, a magical wondrous feeling takes place. We can know that the Holy Spirit resides in us simply because Jesus promised he would (John 14:16).

We are a Christian if we believe that Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior, and we give him permission to be in control of our lives. A Christian who receives the Holy Spirit is a temple of the Living God (1 Cor. 3:16). When the Holy Spirit is active within us, we will experience that his power is greater than any power in this world (1 John 4:4). We will receive power (Acts 1:8) and through it we will resist the devil and he will be forced to flee (James 4:7). The Holy Spirit helps us to act as Jesus directs us to act (Rom. 8:5). Here we are told that those who follow the Holy Spirit find themselves doing things that please the Lord.

Jesus has broken the power that Satan has had on our life. We do not have to be in bondage anymore, and we do not have to blame our parents or our background as a child for the hurt that we are experiencing now. There is no condemnation in Jesus Christ (Rom. 8:1), and that means that what we were or did yesterday does not have to be what we are or do today.

Today, right now, wherever you are, take a few minutes and ask the Lord to forgive you of your sins. Tell him that you are tired of living a life of pain and emptiness. Then ask him to heal the hurts that have come from specific people in your life. You will be empowered to serve God and do his will (Acts 1:8) and you will become part of God’s plan to build up his church (Eph. 4:12-13), which is made up of people like you and me.


MATTHEW 11:25-30

“Come to me and I will give you rest.” You might ask, “rest from what?” We all are working beneath a yoke as we go through life. Some people are unevenly yoked in marriage and the result is bitterness and resentment, followed many times by divorce. Jesus calls us to wear his yoke and not to worry because he will make sure it fits perfectly. A yoke is a heavy wooden harness that fits onto one or more oxen. When an ox wears a yoke, it means that the animal is going to have a long day of hard work.

Jesus mentions a “heavy yoke” and that could mean the burden of sin, the burden of the law, or the excessive demands of the Pharisaic leaders. It could mean government oppression, like the pressure being put upon those who protest abortion. It could also be just weariness in the search for God.

Jesus frees people from all these heavy burdens. The rest that Jesus promises is peace with God, not the end of the effort of living out our life. Jesus mentions two kinds of people in his prayer. He mentions the wise, who are smug and secure in the safety behind following all of the laws and being in the right places and with the right people. He also calls those who are humble, trusting and open to change, to be “children” or child-like in their faith. We are called to be open, trusting and honest, like a child, when we are praying to God. He wants us to be happy and well.

Remember – His plan for us is clearly stated in scripture, “My purpose is to give you life in all of its fullness” (John 10:10). His yoke fits us perfectly. Let us put it on and joyfully join him in the vineyard of life.



The first reading tells us that the gift of prophecy was used for the coming of Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem. The second reading tells us what a Christian is and how to live a Christian life. The Gospel shows us how to lighten the burdens of life by inviting Jesus to carry our burdens and how we can let go of them.

This week, show your Christianity by helping to lighten someone else’s burden. Take time to be available and present to your family. Respond gently and with love to a need of someone in your life. It can be very simple, such as, taking to church a family member, friend or someone you know that is alone. Maybe you can visit or write to someone in prison. Jesus often lightens someone else’s burdens through one of us. He has your yoke and it will fit you perfectly. His love for others can be seen through your love.