“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.” (Psalm 138:2-3)
Reflections on the readings for the Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (July 24, 2022): GN 18:20-32; PS 138:1-2,2-3,6-7,7-8;COL 2:12-14; LK 11:1-13
MISSIO offers “Preaching Mission,” as a homily help, providing connections to mission from the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days.
The Son of God wants us to understand that as His followers we have a special closeness with His Father. Indeed, through Jesus, we have been given the right to call Him Father, too.
In the Gospel reading this Sunday, we hear some of Christ’s most essential words on prayer. He starts by responding to the request by one of His followers. “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’” (Luke 11:1-4). The Gospel of St. Matthew also contains a version of the Our Father, also known as the Lord’s Prayer. The one we hear today is the shorter one, yet both contain vital similarities. Jesus does not just begin by addressing His Father, He expects us to do the same. And the word He uses for Father is not the more formal word, rather it more closely means “Daddy” or “Papa.” The Son of God wants us to understand that as His followers we have a special closeness with His Father. Indeed, through Jesus, we have been given the right to call Him Father, too.
Christ then hails and honors His name and acknowledges His Kingdom. This is the Kingdom of God or Heaven of which He speaks so often, particularly in parables. And it is to this Kingdom that we are invited and called to serve for His sake. Jesus then asks the Father for several gifts that are vital to our life and our salvation. “Daily bread” means far more than what is necessary for our body. We are also asking God for the life of our soul -- the Living Bread of that Christ gives us from His own Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. Then Jesus says the word “forgive” twice. He asks the Father to forgive our own sins and immediately makes God’s forgiveness dependent on our forgiveness of those who are in debt to us. Our Lord wants us to grasp the connection between God’s mercy -- and our own. Lastly, He prays that our Father does not let us be subjected to a final test or temptation. This is a prayer we say so often that may need to pause and give it more attention. According to St. Augustine: “Run through all the words of the holy prayers (in Scripture), and I do not think that you will find anything in them that is not contained and included in the Lord’s Prayer.”