Seventeenth Sunday of Ordinary Time, Year C.

Lk 11: 1 – 13

Come Holy Spirit make us holy. Fill our hearts with a burning desire for the Truth, the Way and the fullness of Life. Enkindle in us your fire that it may make us into light that shines and warms and consoles. Let our heavy tongues find words to speak of your love and beauty. Make us a new creation so that we become people of love, your holy ones, visible words of God. Then we will renew the face of the earth and everything will be created anew. Amen.

The Gospel for today is quite long. It is made up of the following sections:

1                  Jesus at prayer

1b – 4        The Our Father

5 – 8          Parable of the persistent friend

9 – 10        An interpretation of the Parable

11 – 13      How do I see God?

Not surprisingly we will only be able to reflect on part of it.

The opening words of Lk 11: 1 – 13 are, “Once when Jesus was in a certain place praying, and when he had finished one of his disciple said, “Lord, teach us to pray.” The best way to teach others to pray is to lead by example. It is not surprising that the disciples caught the spirit of prayer from Jesus. They must have frequently witnessed him at prayer. We too will learn the same lesson as we become aware of Jesus, the ‘Man of Prayer’ as he is presented by Luke.

Luke’s Our Father is somewhat shorter than what we find in the other gospels. Jesus presents us with a pattern of prayer rather than a formula.

Having read Luke’s version of the Our Father it is easy to see this pattern of prayer reflected in Jesus’ prayer in Gethsemane. “Pray that you may not undergo the test. Father, not my will but yours be done.” (22: 40, 42)

“Father may your name be held holy.” We are taught to approach God as father.  Our relationship is with a God who is the best ‘Father.’ Jesus is confident that our God is a loving, merciful and understanding God. We are taught to approach God with thanks and praise for all that has been given to us. Mary recognized this when in the Magnificat she sings, “My soul (life) proclaims the greatness of the Lord .. The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name.”  (1: 46,49)

“Your kingdom come.” As we look around this world, at all the evil, we should balance this against the far greater good in the world. God’s plan for a world; justice, love and peace will flourish, in the world at large, and in our lives also.

“Give us this day our daily bread.” We petition our God for all that is good and all that we need.  It is more important that we give thanks for the talents we have been given that enable us to provide for ourselves and those that we love. In the parable that follows the Our Father we are encouraged to “get up and give all that he wants.” (11: 8)

“Forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive each one who is in debt to us.”  Jesus takes it as a given that we frequently forgive others. The practice of forgiving, is a sure formula for living a full, wholesome and happy life.

“And do not put us to the test.” Finally we cry out to God, not to leave us alone to confront evil. This is the prayer which Jesus prays for Peter. “Peter, I have prayed that your faith may not fail; and once you have turned back, you must strengthen your brothers.” (22: 32)

* * * * * * *

We will now take time to read the parable carefully.

As you read look for what you find to be the most significant moment in the story.

5He also said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend and goes to him in the middle of the night to say, ‘My friend, lend me three loaves, 6because a friend of mine on his travels has just arrived at my house and I have nothing to offer him’, 7and the man answers from inside the house, ‘Do not bother me. The door is bolted now, and my children and I are in bed; I cannot get up to give it to you.’ 8 I tell you, if the man does not get up and give it to him for friendship’s sake, persistence, will be enough to make him get up and give his friend all he wants.”

I have indicated two possible significant moments in the parable. What did you find?

Is there the possibility that there is a link between this parable and the closing phrase of our reading. “The heavenly Father will give the Holy spirit to those who ask him.” (11: 13)

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