for Sunday, July 24, 2016
Persevere in prayer! Keep asking God for all you need! God hears us and answers us if we keep pestering Him. Both the first reading and the Gospel today insist that God will hear our prayers if we just keep asking. The second reading adds that God reaches out to us in Jesus, to take away our sins and transgressions. Our God is a God who loves us and always reaches out to us.
The first reading today is from the Book of Genesis and hands on to us this tradition that Abraham was so close to God the he, Abraham, could negotiate with God. In the outcome of this story we can understand one of the Jewish traditions that insists that there are always a number of holy people in the world and because of their prayers, the world goes on and God does not destroy it. The challenge is for you and for me: are willing to give our lives for the salvation of the world? Are willing to lives of intercession for others, even when there seems to much evil at work in our world? Are we willing to follow the way of the Lord?
The second reading, from the Letter to the Colossians, then speaks to us about what happens in Baptism. We are already dead by our sins, but we are buried with Christ in baptism so that we can receive His life and be raised up in Him. We are given new life in such a way that we live in Christ and our sins and transgression are forgiven and we are given life. This is only experienced at a spiritual or mystical level but we can know that it is true when we try to live for the Lord. So many of us have had this experience of living in sin and then sensing a freedom that we did not know that we have, and beginning to live in grace and freedom. This is not about a psychological shift. It is a spiritual change that is a gift of grace within us. Even when we fail and fall again, Christ is there to draw us into His life.
The Gospel of Luke today contains a version of the "Our Father," and then moves on to tell us: keep on knocking at the door of God, keep on insisting with God, keep asking until God responds. In order to do this, of course, we have to want something intensely enough that we are willing to insist with God. Lots of us want things but not enough to ask God for them. Lots of us suffer, but are uneasy about asking God to help us in our sufferings. Lots of us find sinfulness in ourselves but we are not entirely convinced yet that we want to be free of it.
Jesus instead invites to look at our lives and decide what we want, what is truly good for us: then ask and ask and ask. God will give it to us if we persevere in asking for the good.
May we know what we truly need in our lives, my sisters and brothers, and have the courage to ask for it until we receive it.
Readings of the day:
First Reading: Genesis 18.20-32
Second Reading: Colossians 2.12-14
Gospel: Luke 11.1-13
Reflections are available for the following Sundays: