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The Right Use of Authority | Breaking Open the Word at Home

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Reading Time: 4 minutes


Today’s readings explore two different ways we might exclude others . . . and call us to make serving God and others are top priority.

by Jennifer Schlameuss-Perry

This Sunday, we’re reading the Scriptures for the 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle B. (You can get the readings at the USCCB website.)


Today’s Readings offer us two themes:

  1. That anyone who is working for God, whether we think they are fit for it or not, is welcome by God and
  2. That people who are too focused on wealth or prestige are heading for disaster. God clearly calls all of us to properly prioritize our values, making God and serving God’s people number one.

In fact, the Gospel warns us that if anyone in any kind of authority (i.e., community leaders, teachers, parents, older siblings, or clergy) leads someone smaller than themselves (that could mean younger, less experienced, less educated, more impressionable, or even someone under that person’s authority) into sinful behavior, that the person in authority is responsible. If we model good behavior like welcoming, sharing, caring, protecting and loving for the small ones than we will be rewarded. These two themes are dependent on one another—if our priority is God, we will not begrudge anyone else who is trying to do the same. And if we are welcoming of everyone’s efforts, then we will always be modeling good behavior by encouraging others toward a higher good.

Break Open the Word with Your Family


Do you ever try to exclude anyone because they are different or not part of your group? Has that ever happened to you? How did that make you feel? How does it make others feel?


This is a time in your life when many of your values are being challenged and new ideas are being formed. How do you experience/observe authority? Do you feel that people in authority honor these Gospel values? What would the world be like if they did? What would the world be like if you did?


When providing for a family, it’s important to make sure that their needs are met and that you are giving them the best foundation that you can. Do you struggle in keeping your priorities balanced? What are you teaching the people in your life who rely on you (at home, at work, with friends, in the community) about authority? Does is match the Gospel?


A little lectio

The ancient practice of prayerfully reflecting on bits of Scripture is known as lectio divina. Want to try it out with your family? Head over to Lectio Divina for Kids to find out how to adapt this prayer practice for your kids.


A little Bible study

Want to do a little Bible study with your kids? Here are some tips:

  • During Ordinary Time, the Church pairs the Old Testament and New Testament readings in a way that each sheds light on the other. Ask your kids to look for the common theme connecting the two readings. (Sometimes it’s obvious, sometimes it is subtle.) How does the “dialogue” between the readings help you understand them better?
  • Get a New American Bible, Revised Edition, and take a look at the footnotes for these readings. How do they change your understanding of what is going on?
  • Take a look at the context for the readings—what happens before, or after?
  • Read the NABRE’s introduction to the book of the Bible that the readings are taken from. How does that help you understand the readings?
  • If you don’t have a copy of the NABRE at home, you can view it online at the USCCB website at the Daily Readings web page. (The link will take you to today’s reading; click forward or backward on the dates to get to Sunday’s readings.)

For even more resources for breaking open this Sunday’s readings, head over to The Sunday Website.


The image for Breaking Open the Word at Home is taken from a 17th century illuminated manuscript by an anonymous (but very talented) artist. The text is from the beginning of the Book of Sirach, chapter 1, verses 1-12, which begins: “All wisdom is from the Lord and remains with him forever.”


Follow Jerry Windley-Daoust:

Publisher, Gracewatch Media

Jerry Windley-Daoust is a writer, editor, and father of five. He writes essays and stories at Windhovering and is the show-runner for Gracewatch Media, a small Catholic publisher. You can follow his latest publishing projects at gracewatch.org.

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