HOMILY THEME: BE PERSISTENT; GOD STILL ANSWERS.
BY: Fr. Clem C. Aladi
HOMILY: GOSPEL: LUKE 11:1-13
“Let nothing disturb you, let nothing frighten you. All things are passing away: God never changes. Patience obtains all things. Whoever has God lacks nothing; God alone suffices.”
– St. Theresa of Avila
Welcome my dearest children of God to the table of God’s word on this 17th Sunday.The readings of today remind us never to give up but to be persistent in our prayer.
A story was told of a priest who did illegal parking here in the US. He left a note on the windshield, saying: “I’m a priest. Can’t find a parking space. Please don’t give me a ticket. ‘Forgive my trespasses.”
On returning, he found a ticket on his windshield with this note: “I’m a cop. If I don’t give you a ticket, I’ll commit sin. ‘Lead me not into temptation.“But if you attach a paper bill on your license, it’s alright. ‘Give us this day, our daily bread.”
That’s, of course, an amusing version of the Lord’s Prayer which is the subject of today’s gospel reading. “Lord, teach us to pray,” one of his disciples says and Jesus replies, “ When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be your name …” (Lk11,2).
In the Lord’s prayer, we find four different types of prayer summed up in the acronym ACTS – A, adoration; C, contrition; T, thanksgiving; and S, supplication. In Jesus’ prayer, we express adoration, saying, “ Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name .” We acknowledge God as creator; as the author and finisher of our life.
We express contrition or sorrow for sin, saying, “ Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.”
How about thanksgiving? It’s not explicitly expressed. However, when we adore God, we acknowledge Him for what He is and what He has done for us. We thank God for the free air we breathe, the water and plants, more material blessings we have received, and so on.
Finally, we express supplication when we ask God for the things we need. Thus, we say, “ Give us this day our daily bread .”
Some people complain that they always pray, but don’t get what they ask. Yet in this Sunday’s gospel, Jesus assures us, “ Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you ” (Lk 11.9). One reason why we don’t succeed in prayer or why we don’t get what we ask for could be because we don’t work enough to attain it. We forget the other side of prayer: OUR SIDE. For instance, we pray for peace, say, among married couples but there are domestic unrests because of the infidelity and philandering of one spouse.
Or, we pray for good health, but we enjoy gorging junk foods rich in cholesterol (or as one politician once said, “… rich in
collaterals!”). We pray for the country’s economic recovery, but unscrupulous officials steal from the government coffers.
How about “unanswered prayers?” We must bear in mind that God is not at our disposal. We give Him the freedom to
answer “yes” or “no” or “wait.” “Man proposes; God disposes,” remember?
Therefore we need a change in our lifestyle and attitude to prayer while being PERSISTENT in whatever we ask of God. The gospel message ends with Christ’s admonition to persevere in prayer. This persevering spirit is illustrated in the first reading when Abraham bargains with God to spare Sodom and Gomorrah. In the gospel, the sleepy friend responds to the importunate neighbour not because he is generous, but because of the later’s annoying persistence. “ If you, evil as you are, can be generous with your fellowmen,” Christ concludes, “how much more with God .” So, keep on praying. Don’t give up. Persistent prayer is an enduring evidence of faith.
In this mass, we ask God to give us the grace to be persistent in our prayer life and May you receive good news on something you have been patiently waiting on.Amen
Grant me, O Lord my God, a mind to know you, a heart to seek you, wisdom to find you, conduct pleasing to you, faithful perseverance in waiting for you, and a hope of finally embracing you . Amen.
– St. Thomas Aquinas
I keep you and your family always in my prayers.
Fr. Clem C. Aladi