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PRAYING AS WE ARE TAUGHT. A reflection for the 17th Sunday in the Ordinary Time, Year C.
By Fr. Modestus Mgbaramuko
Sun, 28 Jul 2019

Reading: Gn 18:20-32; Col 2:12-14; Lk 11:1-13.

If there is one acknowledgement that is firmly stressed in today’s first reading, it is the acknowledgment of the capacities available for use in a person’s persistent prayer. Such a trusting and persevering prayer can influence – even today and now, the fate of the many.

In the Gospel, prayer and openness to prayer finds backing in the presupposition that there is a just and righteous God. Moved from sheer goodness; and mindful of how much God loves the world, God sent Christ. Today, prayer is again acknowledged as all who come to Jesus are led in prayer and in faith to address God as ‘Our Father’, recognise God’s name as revered and accept God’s will as worth doing.

Also, as St Paul reflects on the teachings of faith, he acknowledges that ‘we were dead because of sin’ but were redeemed from death by our baptism in Jesus. Paul admits that Jesus’ cancellation of the eternal death of man as the wages of sin, is reality. It is reality owed to the actions of ‘Our Father, the just and righteous God who sent his Son, Christ to us. This Pauline exhortation leaves us with choices to make regarding our disposition to trust in God and to show it by, in our prayer life.

One good way of approaching today’s readings is to seek to live out this message projected in the readings. We cannot trivialise prayer or make light, the disposition needed for our prayers to be answered. Addressing God as ‘Our Father’ invites us to cherish the common kinship of all peoples as Children of one father. Saying to God in prayer: ‘Forgive us our trespasses’ is a serious reminder of real duty on us to be less vengeful and demanding upon those who have failed us in one way or another.

Jesus, who taught us the great prayer of the ‘Our Father’, is known to have lived every line of this prayer. He carried out a ministry of making God’s kingdom and God’s will to come alive among us and in our consciences. Jesus prayed his way into every major decision he had to take – from the very beginning of his public ministry to its very end at Gethsemane and Calvary. Among his very last words was the prayer for, and the actual forgiveness of his executioners (Lk 23:34).

The ‘Our Father’ is quite significant in finding the words for us to use in our own prayers. We need no longer fret in indecision, embarrassment or ‘loss of words’ regarding what to ask for or how to pray.  And we certainly, need no longer to wonder about, as to what balm could seal back the broken jells of relationships once loved but now lost. If only we could be realistic in noting the presence of ‘trespasses’ and to handle them in the attitude of forgiveness which the ‘Our Father’ reveals today!

It is also no less true that often, we are tempted to trivialise the prayer relationship as taught by Jesus. This, we do, when we feel that we are enough for ourselves or have all what need - with knowing no prayer life. But how very regrettable! Even where this seems to be the case in some of our privileged-life experiences; it is in fact, the greatest reason for us to be thankful to God and more accommodating of others.

Thinking of the daily waves of disquieting news on our ears and the often, sheer horrific events that now  continue to mark the way that our contemporary life is lived, who could dispute the truth that the time is now for us to turn more to God in prayer? Rather than our over-confident attitudes on our own power or strength alone, let us take it to the Lord in a sincere, trusting prayer!



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