July 28, 2019 - 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time
This week’s readings, Genesis 18:20-32 and Luke 11:1-13, are rather amusing. In the reading from Genesis Abraham is relentlessly bargaining with God for the sake of the innocent people who may reside in the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah who will die along with the evil people when God destroys the cities. Abraham is comfortable and confident in his relationship with God and is not disrespectful when he continues to bargain for innocent lives, “If there are 50 people…if there are 45…For the sake of 20 good people…If you find only 10 good people will you still save the city?” And God patiently responding, “Even for only 10 good people, yes, I will save the city.”
In the Gospel Jesus again teaches using a parable, a story. The disciples ask Jesus to teach them how to pray and Jesus teaches them the “Our Father” prayer which we all know and pray regularly. He follows that with a story of a man who knocks on his friend’s door in the night asking for a loaf of bread for a traveler who has just arrived after a long journey. This man is persistent. His friend does not want to get out of bed and get him bread…it’s late…the doors are all locked…but eventually the friend gets up and gives the man the bread for which he keeps asking.
Persistence. Persistence in prayer. That is what we are focusing on this week, and what Jesus is teaching us! We pray for God to give us our daily bread and forgive us our sins in the Lord’s Prayer. We continually pray for these things. These are things that God is willing to give because they are in keeping with His will. We do not pray for a new car…or fine jewelry. We do not “need” cars and jewelry, or in the case of children new bikes and video game systems, but we do need food, physical and spiritual, and forgiveness from God. That is what we need to remember when we pray; to pray for what we need, to pray for help and protection for ourselves and others and ask for what will lead us to a better life in Christ Jesus. We should pray for the Holy Spirit who will help us know how to pray. Above all we need to be persistent and keep praying for important things over and over and over. Ask…seek…knock. “Ask and you will have what you ask for, seek and you will find what you are looking for, knock and the door will be opened for you.” God is our good father who gives us what is good for us in the same way we as parents give to our children what is good for them. “God will give the Holy Spirit to anyone who asks.”
The Psalm this week is Psalm 138: Lord, on the day I called for help, you answered me.