Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, July 24
God Is Asking Us Today to Deepen Our Faith and Our Trust in Him by Turning to Prayer, Making Our Prayer Life an Intimate and an Integral Part of Our Daily Lives.
“But he still persisted: ‘Please, let not my Lord grow angry if I speak up this last time.’”
Abraham’s persistence, which we hear about in our First Reading today, is the perseverance in prayer which our Lord speaks about in today’s Gospel. Perseverance means to pray without ceasing, believing that God will hear and answer our prayers, if what we are asking for is in accordance with His Divine will for us and for those for whom we pray, and if it brings holiness into our lives and the lives of others.
And our Lord tells us today, “I tell you, if he does not get up to give him the loaves because of their friendship, he will get up to give him whatever he needs because of his persistence.” And then He goes on to say, “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?”
I am sure that each one of us has had his or her moments with God, moments when we’ve argued with God, when we’ve tried to bargain with God, moments of anger, moments of deep disappointment with God.
And I am sure that there have been times when we walked away feeling somewhat guilty about thoughts or feelings we may have had.
But if we take the time to think about it, why shouldn’t we experience those kinds of moments and feelings? As God’s sons and daughters, each of us is called to have a personal relationship with the one Jesus called “Abba”.
And a personal relationship with our Creator, if it is real, has its good moments and bad, its peaks and its valleys, moments of deep intimacy and moments of feeling estranged and all alone.
If we experience these feelings in our relationships with each other, why should our relationship with God be any different? For our relationships are born from our own human nature.
In today’s First Reading and in today’s Gospel, we have two graphic examples of how persons exercise a personal relationship with God. Abraham, our father in faith, pleads with God for the people of Sodom and Gomorrah. But it is not a peaceful, quiet pleading. He is obviously trying to force God’s hand. He has the audacity to remind the Lord of His own commitment to justice and His sense of compassion.
“Far be it from you to do such a thing, to make the innocent die with the guilty.”
Abraham’s relationship with God was an honest one, one in which he felt safe and comfortable speaking with his Creator, with a boldness and an honesty which we ourselves might find difficult to do, and he also pleads with God shaped from the virtue of humility, which is a virtue which each of us should practice with each plea we place before the Throne of God.
Yet, Jesus seems to be telling us to exhibit all of that in our prayers, for He instructs His disciples to ask, to knock and, given the parable which accompanies this instruction, to ask again and again and again, to knock not just once but with persistence, pestering God for what each of us believes we need.
We see this example in the life of Saint Monica, whose persistence in prayer for many years resulted in the conversion of her son, Augustine, who became one of our greatest saints and a Doctor of the Church!
How many mothers throughout the world are following the example of Saint Monica today, as they pray daily for the conversion of theirs sons or daughters who have left the Church and have embraced a dissolute lifestyle, a lifestyle which seduces God’s children with all forms of secularistic and hedonistic pleasures?
It is in the example we find in Saint Monica, in the examples we find in those praying daily for their children, in the example of Abraham, and in the example which our Lord gives us in today’s Gospel, wherein we find the true meaning of relationship – a personal relationship with God, truly believing that God does listen to and will answer our prayers – prayers which come from the very depths of our hearts and our souls!
Our Scriptures and our Church teaches us that our God is a God who truly understands the human condition, a God who sympathizes with our human frailties, a God who only wants the very best for His children!
Our God is a God who poured Himself out in His Love for us, as He took upon Himself our human flesh, so that He could, one day, freely offer Himself as a living Sacrifice upon the wood of the Cross for our salvation – so that, out of His indescribable Love for each and every one of us, we could be one with Him forever!
God’s Mercy, and His desire to please us as His adopted children, is unfathomable and incomprehensible, for God’s Mercy and His Love for us is as deep as a bottomless ocean.
For as Paul tells us in our Second Reading from his Letter to the Colossians – in Baptism, we were not only “buried with Him”, we were also raised with Him through the very power of God’s Love, so that we may be brought to live with Him for all eternity!
It is, by the very nature of our Eternal Father’s unfathomable and indescribable Love and limitless Mercy which He offers to each of us, both you and me, that God wants us to barrage Him with our prayers and petitions every day. And Jesus assures us that we cannot overdo it!
Part of the solution to problems like abortion, war, illness, broken families, and the grinding poverty throughout the world is constant, persistent, unrelenting prayer – prayer from the very depths of our hearts and souls.
Our Most Loving and Eternal Father wants to give us good gifts. He wants to help us with our problems. So He asks us to be persistent! He asks us to go to Him every day, and ask and ask and ask! Never stop asking! Never give up! Never lose hope!
In the midst of the storms which we and our loved ones face in life as we journey through this vale of tears, God invites us to cast our anchor towards His very Throne, for our God is the only One who can fill our hearts with a lively and an enduring hope! He is the only One who can truly answer our prayers, giving us what we need and providing a safe harbor for a weary heart!
Saint Monica, along with so many other saints in our Church’s rich history, found solace in the Cross of Christ, believing in the promises He gave not only to His disciples, but also to you and me throughout all the generations of faithful followers.
And God tells us in today’s Scriptures to let nothing disturb us; let nothing frighten us. And, even though all things pass with time, God never changes, and that patience and perseverance wins all things, for we lack nothing as long as we possess God!
The saints came to realize this in their prayers. They came to realize that the depth of our faith is truly dependent upon the richness of our relationship with our God, for God truly understands our personal Gethsemanes that we are sometimes called to experience on this side of the eternal.
And God is asking us today to deepen our faith and our trust in Him by turning to prayer, making our prayer life an intimate and an integral part of our daily lives.
Do not be afraid to argue, to plead, to ask and knock, but ALWAYS with a reverential respect and a deep humility. Let your prayer be a lively exchange with the One who loves you more than you can ever possibly imagine! Do not lose heart; remind God of God’s own Goodness and of His promises that He has given us through His Only-Begotten Son.
Remember that God has invited you and me into a personal relationship with Himself, and He is expecting each of us to engage that relationship! At the same time, may we always recognize and believe that He knows better than we do what is truly best for us, and, as a Loving Father, He will always give us what we truly need!
“If you then…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?”
May God bless you, God love you, and may God always keep you. †
Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.
Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.
Scripture for the Day
- “But [Abraham] persisted: ‘Please, let not my Lord grow angry if I speak up this last time.’” (Genesis 18:32a)
- “Far be it from you to do such a thing, to kill the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous and the wicked are treated alike! Far be it from you! Should not the judge of all the world do what is just?.” (Genesis 18:25)
- “I tell you, if he does not get up to give him the loaves because of their friendship, he will get up to give him whatever he needs because of his persistence.” (Luke 11:8)
- “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?” (Luke 11:13)
- “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.” (Luke 11:9-10)
- “You were buried with [Christ Jesus] in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead. And even when you were dead in transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, he brought you to life along with him, having forgiven us all our transgressions.” (Colossians 2:12-13)
- “Although you have not seen [the Lord Jesus] you love him; even though you do not see him now yet believe in him, you rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, as you attain the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls. (1 Peter 1:8-9)
- “So let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help.” (Hebrews 4:16)
- “Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)
Prayer for the Day
“Dear Lord and Most Loving Savior,
Holiness seems so far away, a mirage in the desert.
My sins keep slapping me in the face and taunting me.
I am like a clown with a bright face and a sad heart.
“Please take the stain of sin from me and help me to join You on Calvary.
Help me to look at You and see only You hanging –
Hanging in Love, suspended in Love, bleeding for Love.
With that vision, the rest of life pales and my sin is gone.
My sin is gone from sight, superseded by Your free Love.
“Thank You for Your freedom and the pain of Your Love.
Thank You for the gift of cleansing grace
Of which I fail to avail myself often enough.
Help me to cast my sin upon You, so that I may grow in holiness.
“Lord, please take my hand and walk with me each step I take:Anonymous
Teaching me, guiding me, supporting me with Your Infinite and Merciful Love.
All this I faithfully ask of You in humble prayer each and every day of my life,
For You are my Loving Father, and I am forever Your devoted child. Amen.”