July 24, 2016

17th Sun., Ordinary Time

July 24, 2016:  Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

See 14 connections with today?
Legend below

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For the gospel
For the psalm
For next Sunday 
Pope Francis Angelus

When the Apostles asked the Lord to teach them to pray, Jesus responded, “Say ‘Father…’”  “Father” is the “secret” of the prayer, the key to a relationship of confidential dialogue with the Father.  “Hallowed be Thy name” and “Thy kingdom come” are associated with “Father.”  First we have to make room for God so he can act in our lives.  The next three petitions express our needs:  bread, forgiveness, and help in temptations.  We pray for bread, we ask forgiveness so we can do concrete acts of reconciliation, and we ask that we not be led into temptation, because we know we're weak.
The two parables following the prayer teach us to have confidence in the Father.  God doesn't need our prayer to know what we need or to be convinced to give it to us; rather, we pray so our faith and patience be strengthened, so that we “struggle” with God for what's most important and necessary.  What's most important, but we almost never ask for, is the Holy Spirit. The Spirit helps us to live well, with wisdom and love, doing God's will.  How beautiful if this week each of us would pray, “Father, give me the Holy Spirit.” 
Read
  • Gn 18:20-32  Lord/Abraham:  "The sin of Sodom and Gomorrah is so grave, I must go see." / "If there are 50 innocent people, will you spare the city?" / "Yes." / "What if there are five fewer?" / "Then I won't destroy it." / "What if only forty?" / "I'll forbear doing it." / "Only 30?" / "I'll forbear doing it." / "20?" / "I won't destroy it." / "At least 10?" / "For the sake of those, I won't destroy it."
  • Ps 138:1-3, 6-8  "Lord, on the day I called for help, you answered me."  I'll thank, praise, and worship you.  You're kind and true.  You see the lowly, preserve me, and complete your work.  Don't forsake your work.
  • Col 2:12-14  In baptism you were buried and raised with Christ through faith.  He forgave your sins and brought you to life with him.  He removed the bond against us, nailing it to the cross.
  • Lk 11:1-13 "Lord, teach us to pray." / "Say:  Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come.  Give us our daily bread, forgive us our sins for we forgive those in debt to us, and don't subject us to the final test."  "Suppose you go to a friend at midnight and say, 'Lend me some bread, so I'll have something to offer my friend who just arrived,' and he replies, 'Don't bother me; we're already in bed.'  If he doesn't give him the bread because of their friendship, he will because of his friend's persistence.  Ask and you'll receive; seek and you'll find; knock and the door will be opened.  What father would give his son a snake when he asks for a fish, or a scorpion when he asks for an egg?  If you give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?"
Reflect
    • Creighton:  How often do we pray the Our Father?  Ironically, the prayer comes from Jesus telling the disciples not to rely on formal prayers, but to pray simply, from the heart.  Jesus says to call God Father, because he's our heavenly father and wants to help and protect us.  We call on him for what we need, and he'll provide. God wants to teach us right from wrong and protect us.  We sin; he loves and forgives us.  He models how we should love, forgive, provide for, and help each other.  When you pray the Our Father, think about its meaning:  we acknowledge we love and respect him, we ask for our basic needs, we ask forgiveness, and we promise to love and care for each other.
    • One Bread, One Body:  "Prayer changes":  When we pray, we sometimes projection our own self-hatred or problems instead of communicating with God, as Abraham begged God not to become impatient or angry (as if God could).  Impatient with God's timing, he eventually quit interceding for Sodom and Gomorrah.  When we pray, may we not project our problems or limitations onto God but rather let God project his love, holiness, and power onto us.  We pray not to change God but to let him change us.
    • Passionist:  "Teach us how to pray":  Scripture has many words for prayer but today’s, προσεύχομαι, goes to the heart of communication with God; its etymology is 'desire.'  Prayer is mutual yearning between God and us; it only happens when the yearning is from both God and us.  God, who desires us, initiates prayer.  He reveals himself as alive and caring about us when he opens us up to the wonder of his presence.  Since he desires us, we can long for him.  Jesus says "Father" 197 times in the gospels, from his first recorded words to his last recorded prayer.  “God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba!  Father!”
    • DailyScripture.net:  "Give us each day our daily bread":  The Jews were  devoted to prayer.  Jesus' disciples ask him for such a prayer, and Jesus gave them the disciple's prayer, the Our Father or Lord's Prayer.  The prayer tells us God is Father, Creator, transcendent authority.  In Christ we're made new, becoming God's adopted children.  Jesus teaches us to address God as "our Father" and to confidently ask him for the things we need to live as his sons and daughters.  We can approach our Father with confidence because Christ opened the way to heaven through his death and resurrection.  Fortunately God doesn't give us what we deserve but responds with grace, mercy, kindness, and forgiveness.  We can pray with faith because our Father loves each of us and treats us as his children, delighting to give us good things, transforming us, making us like him.  Through his grace we can love and serve each other with mercy, pardon, and kindness.  Do I treat others as they deserve, or with grace and mercy?  
      Jesus' illustration from hospitality customs to show how God treats us.  Guest, strangers or friends, had to be welcomed, refreshed, and well fed, no matter what time they arrived.  If there wasn't adequate accommodations for guests and family, family slept outside.  The whole community provided whatever was needed.  If a neighbor can be imposed upon to give bread at midnight, won't God treat us with kindness in all circumstances?  "God, who doesn't sleep, gives graciously" (Augustine).  We can bring our needs to our Father; he'll give his best, what we need, more than we can ask, his Spirit....
        • St. John Boste, missionary priest, martyr: “My function is invading souls, not meddling in temporal invasions.”
      Dress legend
      • 'Calculator' tie:  Negotiations with arithmetic:  God will spare Sodom if he finds 50 50-5=45 40 30 20 10 innocent people there (1st reading) [Too bad I can't find my '10' pin too]
      • 'Phone' tie bar:  "When I called, You answered me" (psalm)
      • 'B ♥ J' tie bar:  I thank You with all my heart (psalm); Bernardine and my wedding anniversary (for which I also thank God with all my heart :-)
      • 'Angel' pin:  In the angels' presence I'll praise You (psalm)
      • 'Hand' tie pin:  Your right hand saves me; don't forsake the work of your hands (psalm)
      • 'Crucifix':  Jesus forgave our sins, obliterated the bond against us, removed it, nailed it to the cross (2nd reading)
      • 'Wheat' pin:  Our daily bread; "Lend me some bread" (gospel)
      • 'Key' tie pin:  "Don't bother me; the door is locked" (gospel)
      • 'Snake' tie pin, 'fish' pin:  What father would hand his son a snake when he asks for a fish? (gospel)
      • 'Holy Spirit' chain:  The Father will give the Spirit to all who ask (gospel)
      • Green shirt:  Ordinary Time season