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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Wednesday 27th in Ordinary Time

1st Reading (Jonah 4:1-11): Jonah was greatly displeased and became angry that God did not carry out the evil he threatened against Nineveh. He prayed, «I beseech you, Lord, is not this what I said while I was still in my own country? This is why I fled at first to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger, rich in clemency, loath to punish. And now, Lord, please take my life from me; for it is better for me to die than to live». But the Lord asked, «Have you reason to be angry?».

Jonah then left the city for a place to the east of it, where he built himself a hut and waited under it in the shade, to see what would happen to the city. And when the Lord God provided a gourd plant that grew up over Jonah’s head, giving shade that relieved him of any discomfort, Jonah was very happy over the plant. But the next morning at dawn God sent a worm that attacked the plant, so that it withered. And when the sun arose, God sent a burning east wind; and the sun beat upon Jonah’s head till he became faint. Then Jonah asked for death, saying, «I would be better off dead than alive». But God said to Jonah, «Have you reason to be angry over the plant?». «I have reason to be angry», Jonah answered, «angry enough to die». Then the Lord said, «You are concerned over the plant which cost you no labor and which you did not raise; it came up in one night and in one night it perished. And should I not be concerned over Nineveh, the great city, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand persons who cannot distinguish their right hand from their left, not to mention the many cattle?».
Responsorial Psalm: 85
R/. Lord, you are merciful and gracious.
Have mercy on me, o Lord, for to you I call all the day. Gladden the soul of your servant, for to you, o Lord, I lift up my soul.

For you, o Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in kindness to all who call upon you. Hearken, o Lord, to my prayer and attend to the sound of my pleading.

All the nations you have made shall come and worship you, o Lord, and glorify your name. For you are great, and you do wondrous deeds; you alone are God.
Versicle before the Gospel (Rom 8:15): Alleluia. You have received a spirit of adoption as sons through which we cry: Abba! Father! Alleluia.
Gospel text (Lk 11,1-4): One day 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». And Jesus said to them, «When you pray, say this: Father, hallowed be your name, may your kingdom come, give us each day the kind of bread we need, and forgive us our sins, for we also for-give all who do us wrong, and do not bring us to the test».

«Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples»

Fr. Austin Chukwuemeka IHEKWEME (Ikenanzizi, Nigeria)

Today, we see how one of Jesus' disciples tells him: «Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples» (Lk 11:1). Jesus' reply: «When you pray, say this: Father, hallowed be your name, may your kingdom come, give us each day the kind of bread we need, and forgive us our sins, for we also forgive all who do us wrong, and do not bring us to the test» (Lk 11:2-4), may be summarized in a single phrase: the best mental attitude for the Christian prayer is that of a child in front of his father.

We can see right away that the prayer, according to Jesus, is something like a “father-son” kinship. That is, a family matter based on a relation of closeness and love. The image of God as a father speaks to us of a relationship based on affection and intimacy, not on power and authority.

To pray as Christians means to position ourselves in a situation whereby we see God as our father and we speak to him as his sons: «You write: ‘To pray is to talk with God. But about what?’. About what? About Him, about yourself: joys, sorrows, successes and failures, noble ambitions, daily worries, weaknesses! And acts of thanksgiving and petitions: and Love and reparation. In a word: to get to know him and to get to know yourself: ‘to get acquainted!’» (St. Josemaria).

When children speak with their parents they try to transmit, through their words and body language, what they feel in their heart. We become better praying men and women when our relation with God is more intimate, as that of a father with his son. Jesus himself left with us his own example. He is the Way.

And, if you invoke the Virgin Mother of God, master of prayer, it will even be easier! In fact «the contemplation of Christ has in Mary its insurmountable model. The Son's face belongs to her in a very special way (...). Nobody has devoted himself with Mary's assiduity to the contemplation of Christ's face» (John Paul II).

Monsignor José Angel Saiz Meneses (until now Bishop of Terrassa) was the first bishop who agreed to collaborate with evangeli.net. He has just been promoted as Archbishop of Seville. The comment for next Sunday ("Good Shepherd Sunday") was written precisely by Monsignor Saiz.

You can read his commentary here