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.”

Posted in Bible Studies.