Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time 2020: Bulletin Column and Cover Art, Prayers of the Faithful


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Bulletin Column: Sunday August 16, 2020

Dear Followers of Jesus,

I adore the Canaanite woman. She is in the top ten of my favorite people. I want to make sure I find her to share coffee when I get to heaven. She must be the patron saint of people who don’t get their prayers answered, since she seemed to discover Jesus’ healing for her daughter.

Matthew 15:21-28 invites us into the dialogue with Jesus and a woman who is considered to be an outsider. She comes to Jesus with a burdened heart. She knows intuitively that Jesus can heal her daughter who is tormented by a demon. She loves her daughter and wants the best for her.

Jesus really gives her the cold shoulder. In fact, the disciples try to talk with Jesus about sending her on the road, to get her out of their hair. The woman persists. Jesus says that his presence is for the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

The woman turns the conversation around and stops Jesus in his tracks. She insists that even the dogs can eat the scraps that fall from the table. I love this. Jesus finds such great faith in the stranger and foreigner. Jesus proclaims, “O woman, great is your faith!”

Most of us live our lives flying by the seat of our pants. We do not know where to turn when something major happens. Most people are not connected with the scriptures or the stories of Jesus and we feel left out when our lives take a turn for the worse. We blame God for not healing us, or at least stopping the bleeding. These months of COVID-19 give us the example of being lost, not knowing clearly what to do or where to turn.

If your life feels out of control, then listen to this woman. Sit with this story and find your place in it. These gospels are not just cozy little stories that we tell at Mass because we do not know what else to say. These stories are brim full of grace, saturated with hope and overflowing with God’s real presence. In these days of racial divisions, even more violence and hatred, our lives are covered with despair. We need a model for us so we can turn to Jesus who loves us clearly. We need the gumption of the Canaanite women.

The woman was an advocate for her daughter whom she loved. I have to believe that she is also an advocate for people she never met. It is easy for us to pray for people we love, too. We face more difficult times when we come to Jesus on behalf of people we do not know or who have never seen. I invite you to come to Jesus especially for people you have never met, especially people who are completely different from ourselves. We must do so. We need to pray for people ingrained in the deep racism that shreds people’s dignity. We need to offer our lives in prayer for people who sell drugs to our children without our knowledge. We need to be at peace when the threats of war and violence capture us.

I hope you learn something from this woman. Pray for couples that are struggling to be faithful with each other. Pray for runaway teens and children you have never known who face sex trafficking. Pray for our immigrants longing to find a safe place. Pray for your neighbor who is depressed. Pray for those who live in fear and feel afraid to walk on this earth. Allow the Canaanite woman to call you out of your shyness about coming to Jesus. Jesus is the one who heals us.

God give you peace,

Fr. Ron



Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

August 16, 2020

Let us pray for the troubled and the lost, that we may ask the Heart of Christ for the guidance and compassion we need in uncertain times.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us pray for those who face unknown disease and illness, for the mentally ill, and emotionally unstable, for our loved ones in hospitals and rehab units, that Christ may reach out to touch every fragile life.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us pray for our children who continue their learning and schooling, either at home or in classrooms, that God may direct our next generation to respect every human life.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us pray for peace on our streets, hope in every heart, and harmony in every household, that God may lift up our poor and suffering.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us pray for people who have lost their jobs, for those who struggle with childcare and finding the resources to raise children among this pandemic.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us pray for kindness among those with whom we disagree, that love may prevail in our communities, our family lives, and in our parishes.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us pray for our loved ones who have died. In this Mass…

We pray to the Lord.








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