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Discussion Questions
Fifteenth Sunday
in Ordinary Time A
July 16, 2017
Anne Osdieck

First Reading

Isaiah 55:10-11

1. You can rely on nature’s cycle of rain. It originates in the heavens, falls to the earth making it fertile, helping it to produce fruit for human consumption. Accomplishing its mission, the rain returns to the heavens. “So shall my word be … achieving the end for which I sent it.”  How is God’s Word reliable in this way? What is the end for which God sent his Son?

2. Rain makes the seed germinate and grow. Apply this to God’s grace. Now apply it to God’s grace in your life. Discuss.

Second Reading

Romans 8:18-23

1. “We know that all creation is groaning in labor pains even until now.” Does God continually create us moment by moment?

2. Can you help redeem the world? Suffering is not necessarily a good thing, but what can make it good? Do you readily offer your suffering? How do you handle the pain you can’t avoid?


Matthew 13:1-23

1. Jesus mentions “cares of the world and lure of wealth” as rocky ground and thorns that keep the seed from taking root. What is your “rocky ground”? Are you a busy pathway where the Word is sown but then is trampled? And can the thorns of worldly anxiety choke the Word when it comes to you?
2. According to Pope Francis, what do we do about receiving the “seed” if we know our soil or field is a place filled with stones and thorns?

A field is a place for sowing seeds. … When we accept the word of God, then we are the Field of Faith! Please, let Christ and his word enter your life; let the seed of the Word of God enter, let it blossom, and let it grow. God will take care of everything, but let him work in you and bring about this growth.

… In silence, let us all look into our hearts and each one of us tell Jesus that we want to receive the seed of his Word. Say to him: Jesus, look upon the stones, the thorns, and the weeds that I have, but look also upon this small piece of ground that I offer to you so that the seed may enter my heart. In silence, let us allow the seed of Jesus to enter our hearts. … Allow it to grow, and God will nurture it.

Pope Francis, Prayer Vigil with Young People, #1,
Rio de Janeiro, July 27 2013

Anne Osdieck
Art by Martin Erspamer, OSB
from Religious Clip Art for the Liturgical Year (A, B, and C). This art may be reproduced only by parishes who purchase the collection in book or CD-ROM form. For more information go