Gospel Reflection July 24 – Fr. Lynch
Sunday, July 24
Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Luke 11: 1-13
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 ourselves forgive everyone in debt to us,
and do not subject us to the final test.”
And he said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend
to whom he goes at midnight and says,
‘Friend, lend me three loaves 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?”
The Gospel today presents us with “The Our Father” prayer account in Luke, the most famous Judeo-Christian prayer worldwide. It is interesting that Luke, being the scholarly writer of the four Gospel narrators adds a little mystery to the account. Rather than nailing it down, He leaves it open by saying when Jesus uttered this model prayer, it happened “one day” when Jesus was praying “in a certain place.” This begs us to ask, “Well, WHAT day was it? WHERE did this happen?”
Regardless of the exactitude, the point is more that Jesus prayed all the time. His followers are not concerned with the words necessarily as much as wanting to be taught how to pray more in the sense of the act of praying. Imitation is said to be a form of flattery and his disciples wanted to imitate the way our Lord prayed.
The words of course have very significant meaning in the lives of Christians, and Jesus presents the prayer almost in a series of statements. While many good books have been written about the Our Father and break down all the various petitions within the prayer, it is more the totality of the prayer itself which served the Jewish community back then clear to the present day as an all-encompassing prayer. A prayer that touches on all the various needs, wants and dimensions of life. It reminds us that we are pilgrims on a journey to our promised land, the New Jerusalem. On our journey Jesus teaches us to ask for our daily bread, this is a pre reference to the Eucharist, receiving nourishment with His Body and Blood. It also teaches us probably the most difficult thing in life to do, forgive others who have done us wrong, even our enemies.
My hope is that when we pray together the Lord’s Prayer at Mass today that we see and recognize that Lord has given us this prayer to help us physically, spiritually and emotionally persevere in a fallen world and live out with joy the gift Jesus is to us all in this life and the life to come!
Luke left some of the important details and facts open — was it intentional, was it the Holy Spirit? I do not have a definitive answer, but one can see that perhaps it really teaches us to realize that our faith is the same. We don’t always have to have all of the facts lined up, or the details given; rather we can learn that as long as we are open in our own prayer lives to the Holy Spirit, the prayer Jesus gave us can truly cultivate a beautiful friendship with God, ourselves and loved ones.
St. Brigid of Kildare…Pray for us.
Father Tim Lynch