17th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C, 28/07/2019


Can God act on assumptions?

God is all knowing and what he knows he knows it well. The dialogue between God and Abraham shows a God who is ready to verify the situation and act on it. As this Sunday’s Gospel Acclamation reminds us, ‘The Word was made flesh and lived among us; to all who did accept him he gave power to become children of God.’ By becoming one of us, God, acted on our situation in a relational way as today’s readings also reveal a parent God who cares for us. We are his children, the ‘works of his hands’ and he knows us too well.
Though we have fallen short from that relationship, God still finds the good in us and he is ever ready as the Psalmist sings, to respond with faithfulness and compassion.  His love for us is eternal to the point of willing to die for us on the cross that we might live.
Today’s Gospel from Luke gives us the shorter form of the Lord’s Prayer, and this is followed by the parable of the friend who comes by night. The parable teaches us perseverance in prayer and shows how God’s parental love by far is beyond any human love.

If God then knows us well and has much parental love beyond our imagination, then what is the importance of prayer to him? When we pray, then, we are developing much further our relational attitudes with him. God is our loving Father and we are his children. This is the relationship began in baptism as St. Paul alludes to in the second reading. The relationship developed into forgiving one by Christ cancelling the bond that stood our way from relating with God.

The request by Jesus’ disciples: “Lord teach us to pray” is a request about relationship. Think of a child who seeks how best to relate with his/her parents. That child will ask for something from the parents to test their love. It could be, dad can you buy me a new birthday dress or shirt? Or mom will you take me to the zoo? These are relational requests which the parents can only give in for the love of their children. So when disciples ask Jesus to teach them how to pray, they are asking him how best can they relate with him.

 Can you think of a word in your language that is very relational? For Jesus the word is “Abba” from his Aramaic language for Father. The Greek word is “Pater alongside the Aramaic word Abba. Is the relational word you choose from your language used both by children and adults? For Jesus, yes and ultimately makes it more relational. If you met Queen Elizabeth, what protocol would you use to address her?

Christian Action this Week: Deepen your prayer life; which will deepen your relationship with God and others. Think about God’s closeness (Immanence) to us and he understands our needs. At the same time think of his “Otherness” (Transcendence), God not equal with us yet his paternal love for us is eternal.

Joy and Peace.