Seventeenth Sunday
in Ordinary Time
A Homily - Cycle C - 2012-2013
by Rev. Luke Dundon


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First Reading - Genesis 18:20-32
Responsorial Psalm - Psalm 138:1-2, 2-3, 6-7, 7-8
Second Reading - Colossians 2:12-14
Gospel - Luke 11:1-13

Written to explain that
Christ came to save everyone.

Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, "Lord, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples."  He said to them, "When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come.  Give us each day our daily bread and forgive us our sins for we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us.  And lead us not into temptation."

And he said to them, "Suppose one of you has a friend to whom he goes at midnight and says, ' Friend, lend me three loves of bread, for a friend of mine has arrived at my house from a journey and I have nothing to offer him,' and he says in reply from within, 'Do not bother me; the door has already been locked and my children and I are already in bed.  I cannot get up to give you anything.'  I tell you, if he does not get up to give the visitor the loaves because of their friendship, he will get up to give him whatever he needs because of his persistence.

"And I tell you, ask and you will receive, seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.  What father among you would hand his son a snake when he asks for a fish?  Or hand him a scorpion when he asks for an egg?  If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Father in heaven give the Holy spirit to those who ask him?"27 July 2013C 17th OT

Do you know how to pray?  SO MANY CATHOLICS have answered NO to this question . . . they know to go to Mass on Sunday, they know how to put money in the basket and even come to Confession once in a while . . . but they don’t know how to pray.  It’s as much as a mystery now as it was 2000 years ago.  So the Apostles themselves say, Lord Jesus – show us how to pray!

The answer is startlingly simple.  It involves words that 3-year olds can memorize, and they do so in our pre-school program here.  And yet the words themselves contain everything we need to know. We turn to God and we begin with the words, “Our Father.”

Simple as that.  OUR FATHER.  The Lord of creation is your FATHER.  And if you’re tempted to say, “that’s nice, I’ve never known a good father” - so be it!  Then it’s time to KNOW ONE.  No wonder we spend the first few lines of this great prayer, exulting in his grandeur and hailing his kingdom and His Holy Will.  Why?  Because God Himself is OUR FATHER.

Which explains why we have the second half of this prayer.  Give us this day our daily bread.  Forgive us our trespasses.  Do not lead us to the final test.  Deliver us from temptation.  Help us.  Feed us.  Forgive us.  Protect us.  SAVE US!  I have this image of a little kid tugging at Dad’s pant leg – look down, Daddy, I need something!  God Himself is OUR FATHER – and so He’s telling us today, to turn to Him this way and PRAY to Him this way!

Last week, we learned about the beauty of listening to our Lord as Mary and eventually Martha did . . . today, we learn the beauty of speaking to our Lord, speaking the words that are so simple, yet so human – Lord, give us what we need!  Are we ready to pray that way?  Are we willing to pray that way?  Well sure, everyone starts out praying that way right?  Lord, give me this please, watch out for that, if you don’t mind, please help my family, please be with my friend, my spouse, my kids . . . everyone starts out praying that way!

And they might be tempted to END with that prayer . . . because why?  Because we’ve asked . . . but the answer isn’t quite what we wanted . . . Sure, we’ll come and listen, we’ll do what we’re told, but let’s not dare to ASK for anything . . . because He might not be listening.  Because He might give us something DIFFERENT, something we DIDN’T want.  We’ll offer Him the petitions in a few moments, but do we really believe He will answer them?

And THAT is where our Lord is trying to show us – DON’T THINK SO SMALL!!!!  WHAT DID I TELL YOU?!?!?!  GOD IS YOUR FATHER!  (And yes, quite literally, He can say to me, “Luke, I am your Father!”)  GOD IS OUR FATHER!  Don’t think small . . . we gotta THINK BIG.  We gotta dare to DREAM – we gotta open our eyes and our hearts and realize that, when NO ONE else is listening to us complain – He IS!  When NO ONE else is giving us what we need – HE WANTS TO!  When NO ONE else knows what we REALLY NEED – He does!  More than we might know ourselves . . . for He’s ready to give us not just the relatively small things we’re asking for – a new car, a nice home, a few extra years of life on this earth – He wants to give us the one WHO MADE THIS EARTH, He wants to give us the Spirit who is bigger than all the galaxies combined, to fit into our little hearts . . . and this Holy Spirit WILL HELP US cheerfully drive our beat-up old jalopy to work, HE WILL HELP US find the Home that will give us true peace in our family, HE WILL GIVE US the exact number of years on this earth that we need to become ticket-holders of Heaven.  All we gotta do, is THINK BIG . . . and then ask, command, DEMAND – God, Father, Daddy – I know how to pray, I know what I need, and I will settle for nothing less . . . than YOU!

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