Discussion Questions

First Reading1
Isaiah 56:1, 6-7

F1.  God offers saving mercy to all people. Do you find yourself included in this mercy, or among those who ignore it?

F2. Do you spend a lot of your time with folks who are “joyful in God’s house of prayer”? Are you joyful too? How do you “observe what is right,” and “do what is just”?

Second Reading2
Romans 11:13-15, 29-32

S1. “The gifts and the call of God are irrevocable.” According to St. Paul’s statement, will God ever have a change of mind and stop loving us? “Even if we are faithless he is faithful, because he cannot deny himself” (2 Tim. 2:13). Explain.

S2. St. Paul says that the Israelites disobeyed yet received mercy; the Gentiles disobeyed and received mercy. Mercy is a profound characteristic of God. In today’s Gospel, trace Jesus’ loving mercy to the Canaanite woman.

Gospel
Matthew 15:21-28

G1.  What is it about her statement, “Please, Lord, for even the dogs eat the scraps that fall from the table of their masters,” that prompts Jesus to grant her request? Do you think Jesus might have understood his mission from his Father better, during this conversation?

G2. What risk did the Canaanite woman take when she cried, “Have pity on me, Lord, Son of David”! Who are the risk takers today? Is anything gained without risk?

The woman who was sick took a risk when she furtively touched the hem of Jesus’ cloak: she risked being ridiculed. But she risked: because she wanted to be cured, she wanted to reach Jesus. Remember the Canaanite woman: women risk more than men do! That’s true: they are better at it! We have to admit that. …

Do I take risks, or do I follow Jesus according to the rules of my insurance company? … Do I put my faith in Jesus? Do I entrust my life to Jesus? Am I walking behind Jesus even if sometimes I seem ridiculous? Or am I sitting still, watching what others are doing?

Pope Francis, Homily, Mass in Chapel of Santa Marta
January 13, 2017

Anne Osdieck
 

**From Saint Louis University

Kristin Clauson