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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Sunday 17th (C) in Ordinary Time

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): 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 forgive all who do us wrong, and do not bring us to the test’».

Jesus said to them, «Suppose one of you has a friend and goes to his house in the middle of the night and says: ‘Friend, lend me three loaves, for a friend of mine who is traveling has just arrived and I have nothing to offer him’. Maybe your friend will answer from inside: ‘Don't bother me now; the door is locked and my children and I are in bed, so I can't get up and give you anything’. But I tell you, even though he will not get up and attend to you because you are a friend, yet he will get up because you are a bother to him, and he will give you all you need. And so I say to you, ‘Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and it will be opened to you’. For the one who asks receives, and the one who searches finds, and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. If your child asks for a fish, will you give a snake instead? And if your child asks for an egg, will you give a scorpion? Even you evil people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more then will the Father in heaven give 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 us pay great attention to what his attitude enlightens 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, some where 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, pleads him to teach them how to speak with God, Jesus replies: «When you pray, say this: Father, hallowed be your name…» (Lk 11:2). The prayer consists of a filial conversation with this Father that loves us madly. Did not Teresa of Avila define 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.