Thursday, July 21, 2016

Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C

Readings: Gn 18:20-32; Col 2:12-14; Lk 11:1-13

The readings this Sunday are about prayer, the first sign of a dynamic Catholic. They focus our attention on prayer as a gateway to relationship with God. In the first reading from Genesis, Abraham, after offering hospitality to the Lord is at prayer that sounds like a bargain. Abraham is quite successful in pleading for God's mercy upon the innocent people of Sodom. This prayer of Abraham is an example of perseverance. The reading offers us a model of prayer as though God was a familiar friend, someone we can talk to along the way. But is important to realize that Abraham's prayer is not for himself but for others.

The Gospel focuses on the Lord's Prayer as found in Luke which is slightly different from the prayer we normally use at Mass from the Gospel of Matthew. In the gospel passage, Jesus is at prayer and the disciples are so impressed that they request, “Teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples”. They want to be in union with the Father and not just to recite some words. After giving them a model of prayer, Jesus offers two brief parables one of which is quite humorous, the parable of the friend at mid-night. This man goes to his neighbor at mid-night to ask for bread because he has guests who have just arrived. His friend, already asleep, wakes up, and says: “Are you crazy? It is mid-night, my wife, the kids and I are asleep and the baby may wake up and begin crying. If I get up I will disturb everybody”. The parable ends with the persistence of the neighbor until he gets the bread. Jesus concludes, if that is how your earthly friend will respond to you, how much more will your heavenly Father? The second parable is about dads and their kids and Jesus concludes, if earthly dads know how to provide good things to their kids, how much more will your heavenly Father? So Ask, Seek and Knock. God is listening and will even give you the greatest gift, the Holy Spirit. So what message do we take home this Sunday? 1) The readings invite us to reflect on the importance of prayer. 2) They offer us a model on how to pray and how to enter into an intimate relationship with the Father through prayer as Jesus did. 3) Like the friend at mid-night we need to persevere always and never give up in prayer.

©2016 John S. Mbinda

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