20th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Call to worship

Having a strong faith means knowing that God’s heart is open to all, continually extending abundant and generous mercy to people of every race creed and color. Let us pray for a persistent faith that opens our hearts and that forces us to let go of judgment.

  • To the point: The Canaanite woman in the gospel refuses to be rebuffed even by the exclusionary and harsh words of Jesus. Nothing gets in the way of her seeking healing for her daughter tormented by a demon. The woman keeps calling out to Jesus because she wants him to remove the demon—the evil that separates. Her great faith moves Jesus to grant her request. By nature, faith is persistent; persistence is single-minded and single-mindedness achieves the end it seeks. Like this woman, our faith must be great enough to overcome barriers, focus persistently on Jesus, and bear the fruit of salvation and healing for others.
  • Connecting the Gospel (Matthew 15:21-28) to the first reading: What was for Isaiah a vision and future possibility — namely, all peoples will be drawn together in worship of God—is realized in the ministry of Jesus as a foreign woman comes with great faith to seek healing and offer homage.
  • Connecting the Gospel to experience: All of us struggle with persistence — in prayer, in good works, with any spiritual discipline. The gospel woman reminds us that some- times the sheer persistence can be the prayer, the good work, the spiritual discipline.

These scriptures remind us that we are all united in our personhood and in our common humanity. Our willingness to call out in faith and to ask for mercy when we are in need are factors that unite us – no matter our race, creed, color values, or orientation. God’s house is open for all who come in faith, who seek mercy and help.

Centering prayers

The Gospel

(Matthew: 15:21-28)

Then Jesus said to her in reply, “O woman, great is your faith!”

Nothing can hold back the brave woman from Canaah.
Not religious boundaries, not gender rules, nothing, 
when she told him the needs of her precious child.
Dear Lord, give us faith like this unswerving woman.
Make us stubborn. Fearless. Bold. Creative.
Whatever it takes. Let us hear, “O, great is your faith.
Let it be done for you as you wish.”

The First Reading

(Isaiah 56:1, 6-7)

“My house shall be called a house of prayer for all people”.

Lord, the door to your house of prayer
stands open always. No locks,
no “members only,” no first or second class,
no dress codes. No dues. Love alone.

The Second Reading

(Romans 11:13-15, 29-32)

“For the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable.”

Infinite God, you pour out your boundless
mercy and love, upon all who will receive it.
Fond Father, thank you for your care.
Please help us and our world to receive it.

Copyright © 2020, Anne M. Osdieck

Liturgical music

Meditative music

This beautiful, orchestrated version of Perosi’s Kyrie is a magnificent plea for God’s mercy. At Mount Carmel, this was a Kyrie we sang for many years through the 1940s and up to the 1970’s for special occasions and solemn feast days.