Gospel Reflection: Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Malvern Minute


JULY 24, 2016
Alleluia, Alleluia.
You have received the Spirit of adoption
Through which we cry, Abba Father
Alleluia, Alleluia.
The Holy Gospel according to Saint Luke 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?”
The Gospel of the Lord
Lord, teach us to pray … What greater need is there among people who desire to have a real and tangible connection with God than to know
how to pray.  In my forty-one years as a priest there has been one constant and deep desire of mine and the people among whom I have ministered, and that is, wanting to pray WELL.   What I mean is: not just saying prayers, but
praying sincerely from the heart.
Saint Luke in his Gospel provides for our appreciation and imitation Jesus who is deeply rooted in prayer.  The way Jesus prayed must have been recognized as different and effective.  The disciples noticed the transformingeffect that His prayer had on Him.  Jesus spoke and acted with strength and deep conviction that He and His Father were one.  Through prayer Jesus grew in his confidence in God, and consequently Jesus was willing to trust God in all things and surrender Himself to the Father even if it cost Him His life.
It is no wonder that his disciples wanted to pray like him.
The format of the Our Father that we use during Mass is from Saint Matthew’s Gospel.  The format that Saint Luke gives us this morning has the same fundamental elements but its expression is slightly different.  Nevertheless, in both forms the Our Father is both a way of praying, as well as a prayer.
Jesus teaches that prayer – our desire to respond to God who communicates with us — should emanate from a heart that is keenly aware that God and His name are sacred. That is to say, God is all pure and all holy – different than us sinners.  And, yet we are given the privilege of addressing God as Our Father.  God, the giver of all life treats us as His children for whom He lovingly provides all that is good and life giving.  Therefore, the kingdom and domain that we desire, the physical and spiritual environment in which we want to live should always reflect God’s goodness and holiness – His Kingdom.
It is with this disposition of heart that our prayer becomes more each day an expression of confidence in our God and Father.  Therefore we are not reluctant to ask for what we truly and really need – not what we wantbut what is essential to good living: daily bread and God’s forgiveness!
Bread and forgiveness nourish both the body and spirit.  Praying with a truthful, humble heart allows us to seek God’s forgiveness.   Prayer makes us aware that we need God’s mercy, and that it is a gift that God’s freely offers.  In turn, prayer empowers us to forgive others as God forgives us.  In fact our willingness to forgive others is the only way that makes our request for God’s forgiveness sincere – a holy request.
Finally, we ask God to be ever vigilant because we, his children, are weak.  It is only with His strength that we can resist any test of faith and temptation. That is why we pray daily, if not constantly.  Real praying expresses our dependence on God and our gratitude to God.  For, Our Father gives His children not only fish and eggs but the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!  So then pray constantly.  Make your prayer flow from your heart – and sometimes even use words!!!
Consider joining the Men and Women of Malvern by deepening your personal relationship with Jesus and your commitment as a disciple through a weekend retreat.  See our website for details: MalvernRetreat.com
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