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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Wednesday of the Twenty-seventh Week in Ordinary Time

1st Reading (Gal 2:1-2.7-14): Brothers and sisters: After fourteen years I again went up to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along also. I went up in accord with a revelation, and I presented to them the Gospel that I preach to the Gentiles, but privately to those of repute, so that I might not be running, or have run, in vain. On the contrary, when they saw that I had been entrusted with the Gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter to the circumcised, for the one who worked in Peter for an apostolate to the circumcised worked also in me for the Gentiles, and when they recognized the grace bestowed upon me, James and Cephas and John, who were reputed to be pillars, gave me and Barnabas their right hands in partnership, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised.

Only, we were to be mindful of the poor, which is the very thing I was eager to do. And when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face because he clearly was wrong. For, until some people came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he began to draw back and separated himself, because he was afraid of the circumcised. And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him, with the result that even Barnabas was carried away by their hypocrisy. But when I saw that they were not on the right road in line with the truth of the Gospel, I said to Cephas in front of all, «If you, though a Jew, are living like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews?».
Responsorial Psalm: 116
R/. Go out to all the world, and tell the Good News.
Praise the Lord, all you nations, glorify him, all you peoples!

For steadfast is his kindness toward us, and the fidelity of the Lord endures forever.
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): 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."

“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: 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” (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!’” (Saint Josemaria Escrivá).

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 relationship 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” (Saint John Paul II).

Thoughts on Today's Gospel

  • "You say that you don't know how to pray? Put yourself in the presence of God, and once you have said, 'Lord, I don't know how to pray!' rest assured that you have begun to do so" (Saint Josemaria Escrivá)

  • "Take the Gospel, read a small fragment, imagine what happened and discuss it with Jesus. In this way you will have your look fixed on Jesus and not on the soap opera, for instance” (Francis)

  • "When Jesus prays he is already teaching us how to pray... " (Catechism of the Catholic Church, nº 2607)