17th Sunday in Ordinary Time: Our Father

07-17-2022Weekly ReflectionFr. Bing Colasito

 Lk 11:1-13

When we go to a place of pilgrimage, a shrine, a church, or an Adoration chapel, most of the time, we can pray with unusual intensity. It is not the place that gives the grace of the SPIRIT to pray more intently. The prayer intensity is also because we identify those places with the presence of God. Thus, we feel a certain closeness to the divine.

Jesus’ disciples constantly see Him praying and see how intense His prayer life is - for this, they ask Him to teach them how to pray. The witness of His prayer life invited imitation from the disciples. The disciples realize how much they still need to learn to be in communion with God. He calls God, Father, and encourages them to address their prayer to Him. He is the Father God who is life-giving, full of care and love for us. We can direct our prayers to the Father - whom we can trust.

When we pray, Jesus does not promise to give what we ask. In the Gospel, He promises the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of light and truth, and the courage to deal with all of life’s challenges. Good prayer is not passive but active. “When you pray for the rain, also, you deal with the mud.” Praying for justice, peace, and freedom does not release us from the responsibility to work actively to attain these goods. “Action is not a substitute for prayer,- but action results from genuine prayer.

Jesus encourages us to be persistent in prayer. People of faith ask, seek, knock on the door, and believe it is not a waste of time. In the first reading, Abraham pleads with God to save the people of Sodom; if only fifty people are “just” in the eyes of God. He bargains with God for the sake of the people: what if there is only 45, then 40, then 30, then 20, and finally, 10 – and still, for the sake of the ten, God will not destroy Sodom. What if Abraham continued haggling to lower the threshold; would God withhold His anger? Here, notice that it was Abraham who stopped haggling, not God.

When we pray, there is no guarantee that our problems and worries will vanish. Jesus promises He will always give us His Spirit to remove our anger, fear, and frustration - and give us peace and courage. Prayer will not give us all we are asking for but promises to bestow the Spirit that will help us to obey God.

Persistent prayer to the FATHER can make our dreams come true. So let us pray without ceasing. In the prayer “Our Father,” Jesus teaches us to ask, but the premise of this is to trust in God. “In the realm of prayer, and in the realm of grace, only God is in control.” That is why; we can only trust, believe, obey, and be hopeful. What is most encouraging in prayer is knowing that God is listening - who sees everything and knows everything. He is the FATHER God who is understanding, loving, and forgiving.