A HOMILY FOR THE SEVENTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME – CYCLE “C” – 7/24/16 – SMG
+ Pax et Bonum! Peace and goodness to you this day!
I have a friend of mine, who worked for several years in the landscaping business. After years of hard work, and building a good reputation, and much success in landscaping, he decided that he wanted to make a change. He decided to follow of dream of his, and open a small restaurant. Now, he had done a lot research. He knew that the restaurant business is not an easy one. And he knew just how many restaurants can’t make it, in the first few years. But he found a place. He got everything all set up. He found some really good people to work for him. He did everything that he could to try and make sure that his restaurant would be around for a long time. He just never really seemed to be able to conquer his doubts and fears. Finally, the day came for his new restaurant to open. And we were all there, all his family and friends. The food was great. There were lots of people. He was in a great location. Still, even on the day that they opened, he was so worried about whether or not they were going to be able to stay in business and keep the restaurant opened. A year later, the restaurant closed. It was almost like, what do they call that? Self-fulfilling prophecy! Took over. I don’t think my friend really ever believed that it was going to work. He did everything. He put in the effort. He made all the right preparations. He just never really believed in what he was doing. And sure enough, it all fell apart in the end.
My friend’s experience reminds me of the lesson that we get today as we come to Mass. Today in our Gospel Jesus is talking to us about prayer. And we know how important prayer is. We’ve heard about prayer, and learned about prayer, and done prayer all our lives. Prayer is absolutely essential to the Christian life. Prayer keeps us plugged into God. If we’re not praying, we are not going to stay people of Faith for very long! What is also true about prayer is that we are to trust and believe in what we are doing. We can’t just go through the motions. We can’t just say the right words. When it comes to prayer, just like when it comes to our relationship with God, we must trust and believe. When we pray, we are not talking to some far-away God, Who doesn’t care about us. Instead, we are talking to, we are worshipping, we are giving thanks to, a merciful God Who loves each and every one of us, very much. If we forget that, our prayers, even our best prayers, are doomed to fail. We gotta believe! We’ve got to trust! And sometimes, that means that we even have to be a little bold in our prayer.
Look at Abraham in our first reading today from the Book of Genesis. Abraham is bargaining with God to save Sodom and Gomorrah. He knows that God is kind and merciful, and even in his boldness with God, he trusts that God is going to be true to His love and mercy. This is a God Who we can trust and rely on! In our Gospel, Jesus even goes so far to tell us, that when we pray, we should refer to God as Abba, or Father. And He goes on to say: “And I tell you, ask and you shall receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” That’s the kind of confidence that we need when we pray! Sometimes I think that our fear, especially our own self-fulfilling prophecies, keep our Faith and our prayer from being real. We can be so afraid of God not answering our prayers, that we don’t even expect Him to answer our prayers. And if we don’t expect Him to, why in the world are we even really praying? We must have Faith when we pray.
We have a loving God. We have a God Who has promised to take care of us. We have a God Who hears every prayer and Who knows us inside and out. We have a God Who is SO merciful, that we are having an entire year to celebrate His Mercy! What a great time to increase and grow our prayer lives!
What more can we possibly need that to know and receive the Father’s mercy? According to Pope Francis, “God never tires of forgiving us; we are the ones who tire of seeking His mercy.” Could it be that this is also true of our prayer? Are we not praying, when God is waiting to hear from us? We have a loving God. God’s mercy is freely and abundantly given. This week, let’s give Him the chance to prove that to us!
My friend, didn’t really believe that his restaurant was going to work. And it didn’t. It closed. I think it became a liquor store. Let’s not treat our prayer life the same way. May we believe in what we are doing! And may it keep us in Communion with God!
+ May God bless us this week, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit… AMEN !!!
St. Maria Goretti… Pray for us !!!