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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (C)
1st Reading (Gen 18:20-32): In those days, the Lord said: «The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great, and their sin so grave, that I must go down and see whether or not their actions fully correspond to the cry against them that comes to me. I mean to find out». While Abraham's visitors walked on farther toward Sodom, the Lord remained standing before Abraham. Then Abraham drew nearer and said: «Will you sweep away the innocent with the guilty? Suppose there were fifty innocent people in the city; would you wipe out the place, rather than spare it for the sake of the fifty innocent people within it? Far be it from you to do such a thing, to make the innocent die with the guilty so that the innocent and the guilty would be treated alike! Should not the judge of all the world act with justice?». The Lord replied, «If I find fifty innocent people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake».

»Abraham spoke up again: «See how I am presuming to speak to my Lord, though I am but dust and ashes! What if there are five less than fifty innocent people? Will you destroy the whole city because of those five?». He answered, «I will not destroy it, if I find forty-five there». But Abraham persisted, saying «What if only forty are found there?». He replied, «I will forbear doing it for the sake of the forty». Then Abraham said, «Let not my Lord grow impatient if I go on. What if only thirty are found there?». He replied, «I will forbear doing it if I can find but thirty there». Still Abraham went on, «Since I have thus dared to speak to my Lord, what if there are no more than twenty?». The Lord answered, «I will not destroy it, for the sake of the twenty». But he still persisted: «Please, let not my Lord grow angry if I speak up this last time. What if there are at least ten there?». He replied, «For the sake of those ten, I will not destroy it».
Responsorial Psalm: 137
R/. Lord, on the day I called for help, you answered me.
I will give thanks to you, o Lord, with all my heart, for you have heard the words of my mouth; in the presence of the angels I will sing your praise; I will worship at your holy temple and give thanks to your name.

Because of your kindness and your truth; for you have made great above all things your name and your promise. When I called you answered me; you built up strength within me.

The Lord is exalted, yet the lowly he sees, and the proud he knows from afar. Though I walk amid distress, you preserve me; against the anger of my enemies you raise your hand.

Your right hand saves me. The Lord will complete what he has done for me; your kindness, o Lord, endures forever; forsake not the work of your hands.
2nd Reading (Col 2:12-14): Brothers and sisters: You were buried with him 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; obliterating the bond against us, with its legal claims, which was opposed to us, he also removed it from our midst, nailing it to the cross.
Versicle before the Gospel (Rom 8:15): Alleluia. You have received a Spirit of adoption, through which we cry, Abba, Father. Alleluia.
Gospel text (Lk 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?"

“Jesus was praying… ‘Lord, teach us to pray’”

Fr. Jean GOTTIGNY (Bruxelles, Belgium)

Today, Jesus praying teaches us how to pray. Let’s pay great attention to what his attitude teaches us. Quite often, Jesus Christ feels the need to meet face-to-face with his Father. In his Gospel, Luke emphasizes this point.

What were they talking about that day? We do not know. On the other hand, somewhere else, we have located a fragment of a conversation between his Father and Himself. It was when He was baptized in the Jordan River, and He was in prayer, “And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased’” (Lk 3:22). It is an intermission in a tenderly affectionate dialogue.

When in today's Gospel, one of the disciples, realizing His meditation, begs him to teach them how to speak with God, Jesus replies: "When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be your name…” (Lk 11:2). The prayer consists of a filial conversation with this Father that loves us madly. Teresa of Avila defined a prayer as “nothing else than a close sharing between friends; it means taking time frequently to be alone with him who we know loves us.”

Benedict XVI finds «significant for Luke to place the Lord's Prayer in the context of Jesus' personal prayer. Thus, he let us share his praying; He takes us inside the intimate dialogue of Trinitarian love; in other words, He lifts our human weaknesses up to the very heart of God».

It is notable that, in our current language, the prayer Jesus Christ taught us may be encapsulated in these two single words: ‘Our Father’. The Christian prayer is eminently filial.

The Catholic liturgy puts this prayer upon our lips when we are about to receive the Body and Blood of Christ. The seven petitions that it entails and their own sequence give us an idea of the kind of behavior we have to take on when we receive the Holy Communion.

Thoughts on Today's Gospel

  • “He wants me to love him because he has forgiven me, not much, but everything. He has not waited for me to love him very much, but he has wanted me to know to what extent He has loved me, so that I love him madly!” (Saint Therese of Lisieux)

  • “The Lord tells us how we are to pray. Luke puts the ‘Our Father’ in relation with the personal prayer of Jesus himself. He makes us participants in His own prayer; He invites us into the interior dialogue of the Trinitarian Love” (Benedict XVI)

  • “The prayer that comes to us from Jesus is truly unique: it is ‘of the Lord.’ On the one hand, in the words of this prayer the only Son gives us the words the Father gave him: He is the master of our prayer. On the other, as Word incarnate, He knows in his human heart the needs of his human brothers and sisters and reveals them to us: He is the model of our prayer.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, No.2,765)