A HOMILY FOR THE SEVENTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME – CYCLE “C” – 7/28/19 – SMG
+ Pax et Bonum! Peace and goodness to you this day!
We are all constantly trying to keep up with our ever advancing, technological world. And sometimes it’s not so bad. But other times, it seems nearly impossible to figure things out on our own. Remember, it wasn’t that long ago, that 45% of Americans never learned to program a VCR. And everybody under the age of twenty, just asked the person sitting next to them, what’s VCR? VCR’s were too difficult for us. So when they moved on to DVR’s and smart TV’s, recording a show on TV had to be made much easier: point on the show, and click record. It’s true! They made it easier because we weren’t smart enough to program a VCR. The machines become smarter, and well, we become… not smarter. And then of course, today, when we get in trouble with technology, everything has a hotline. You can call a telephone number, and get instant advice on how to do something. There’s a hotline for your car, for your computer, for your phone! You can call on your phone to get help on how to use your phone! Is this a great world or what? My all-time favorite hotline though, is the Butterball Turkey hotline that that have for Thanksgiving! That’s right, for Thanksgiving Day, and about a week before it, the Butterball company has a free hotline where you can call, and they will help you cook your turkey for Thanksgiving. Hundreds of thousands of people call that hotline number every November. Just think for a minute how many Thanksgivings have been saved because of that hotline. Turkeys that would have served raw. Turkeys that would have been roasted with that little plastic bag of innards, still inside. Turkeys that could have ended up like that one in the movie “Christmas Vacation”. Sometimes, we just need some good advice and a little help.
Today in our Gospel, the Apostles are asking for a little help, when it comes to their prayer. Now, other spiritual leaders and religious guides commonly taught their followers, or their students different methods of prayer, so it is not so surprising that the Apostles ask Jesus to help them out with their prayer. Plus, there’s just something about prayer, that no matter how much any of us do it, we always feel like we’re not doing it quite right. Sometimes, we ALL feel like we could use a little help when it comes to our prayer life. And this is okay. Some of the greatest saints of our Church have told us that the desire to constantly be getting better at prayer, is in fact a good sign that we are growing in our intimacy with the Lord and getting better at our prayer. But it maybe doesn’t always feel like we are getting better in our prayer. And that’s why the Apostle’s question to Jesus today, seems to hit home for all of us.
Jesus responds to the Apostles by teaching them the “Our Father”. This is possibly the most famous prayer of all time. Given to us by God Himself, how much better or more appropriate could any prayer be? It has praise, it has worship, it has intercession, it has a cry for mercy, it even asks for God’s help and grace to be merciful to others and to have God’s protection from evil and temptation. It is an amazing prayer! Perhaps the only other prayer that is more perfect than the “Our Father” is the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, which ironically is modeled after a vastly extended version of the “Our Father”, and includes the “Our Father” in its prayer!
Plus, the “Our Father” invites us into an intimacy with God, that is simply not there in prayers before Jesus taught us this one. In just a few words, Jesus is teaching his Apostles, and all future generations who make this Prayer, that God is our Father, who loves us as a parent and seeks an intimate relationship with us. Where before, in past generations, God’s children relied on patriarchs and prophets to hear and speak to God on our behalf, through Jesus, we are taught that we can communicate directly with God. ALL of us can! That’s what real prayer is!
Even though we are all sinners, and fall down, and make mistakes, we too can speak to God. Even though we are not perfect, God continues to love us, forgive us, and draw us back closer to Himself! The Lord’s Prayer, the “Our Father” also reminds us that if we are children of God who have experienced the Lord’s forgiveness, than we are expected to forgive other who have trespassed against us. This call to forgiveness is perhaps the most challenging part of this awesome prayer. It is not easy to forgive those who have hurt us. But every time we pray the “Our Father” we are reminded that our own forgiveness of others is an essential part of the whole deal, and that God will help us to forgive others, in a way that only He can.
Sometimes our prayer does seem like it is as difficult as re-setting the clock on the microwave after a power outage. Jesus makes is a lot easier, with the “Our Father”. We have a Father in Heaven who loves us. All we have to do, is talk to Him!
+ May God bless us as we strive to be the best “pray-ers” that we can be, Father, Son,
And Holy Spirit… AMEN !!!
St. Maria Goretti… Pray for us !!!