17th Sunday of Ordinary Time
Genesis 18, 20-32 + Psalm 138 + Colossians 2, 12-14 + Luke 11, 1-13
July 24, 2016 at St Joseph Church in Norman, OK (Spanish Mass)
Luke tells us today that Jesus is at prayer when someone comes and asks him to teach them how to pray. They do not ask Jesus what is praying about. So he teaches them how to pray. What he teaches them is a technique more than the words to use. What he says to them is: This is how you do it, and these are some things to pray about.
First, put yourself in the presence of God and acknowledge your relationship and give God glory. “Father, you are Holy.”
Then he proposes some things to ask for: God’s Kingdom, whatever is needed for the day, forgiveness, and the courage to resist temptation. There is one more thing, but Luke holds that to the very end of this episode.
Jesus then quickly moves to tell them a story that ends with a promise. In the story it is easy to think that we are the ones who are knocking on a door, and that God is the friendly neighbor. I would suggest to you that this is not the only way to hear this story. I do not like the idea that God is sleeping and must be awakened to know about our needs. I want to suggest to you that this is a story about us and how we must take care of one another when there is a need regardless of the time or the day. This is a story about friendship. It is a story about how friends share what they have, and about not being ashamed to ask a friend for help.
Finally the episode concludes by returning to thoughts of God as he speaks about a father who gives what is needed. Luke finishes these verses with the assurance that God, the “father” addressed in prayer will give the perfect gift, and now added to that list of how and what we should pray for is that greatest gift, the Holy Spirit!