Year C: 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time
The Gospel: Luke 11: 1-13
In today’s Gospel, Jesus teaches us about prayer.
It begins, as it often does in Luke’s Gospel with Jesus Himself praying. He is with His disciples and they are obviously so inspired by seeing Jesus at prayer that they ask Him to teach them.
The Gospel has three sections - each about a different aspect of prayer.
The first is Luke’s version of the Lord’s Prayer - the Our Father. As you will see, it is slightly different from the version we use which is based more on the prayer in Matthew’s Gospel. (If you want to compare them Matthew’s version is 6: 9-13). We also use a more traditional translation but the basic elements of the prayer are always the same.
The second section in the Gospel speaks of perseverance in prayer - especially in intercession or asking prayer. Jesus uses the image of a man asking his friend for bread to feed his guest - persisting in asking even in the face of several refusals. He trusts that, in the end, friendship will win out. (Unlike the friend, however, God does not refuse to answer our prayer because He can’t be bothered - He is often waiting for us to work out that we may not be asking for the right thing!)
The final section reinforces that need for persistence in prayer - and includes the famous injunctions - ask, seek, knock...Jesus again points out that, if we look after our children - our friends - then we must surely trust that God will be even more generous.
Jesus had complete trust in the Father and that shone through His prayer - remember His Transfiguration while at prayer. He even trusted when God seemed to be saying “No” . In His agony in the Garden on that fateful Thursday night, Jesus asked and asked again for the Cup to be taken away from Him. When He realised that it would not be - could not be - Jesus said again - “Your will be done...”
Even on the cross, Jesus’ prayer did not stop - He prayed aloud the opening words of psalm 21/22 and, at the end, after all the suffering - all the seemingly ineffective persistence, He ended His life with a prayer of continuing trust - Into Your hands, I commend my spirit...”
What does it mean for me?
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