Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
July 28, 2019
Sr. Phyllis Jaszkowiak
When the disciples ask Jesus to teach them how to pray as he prays, Jesus gives them one of the most radical prayers in the whole Bible, the Our Father. We all know it by heart. Do we really know what we are praying or do we just say the words? Most of the time, I admit, I am just saying the words.
If we look deeper into this prayer some questions arise. In “Give us each day our daily bread”, what is it that we need today, right now? What can we do so that others – Immigrants, minimum wage workers, children in detention camps, all marginalized people - also get their daily bread? “When we pray for the needs of others, we oblige ourselves to do our part to respond.” Mary McGlone
In “Forgive us our sins for we ourselves forgive everyone in debt to us,” who do we need to forgive? From whom do we need forgiveness? Have we forgiven Church leaders for the cover up of the sex abuse, while at the same time advocating dropping clericalism and patriarchy and changing church structures? Have we forgiven politicians who do nothing to lessen gun violence, spew racial hatred, work to dismantle health care, while at the same time acting in peaceful, non-violent, forceful resistance so as to further the common good?
Mary McGlone says, “We ask God to provide all we need, the bread of each day and the sustenance of a world in which forgiveness reigns over selfishness and revenge.”
As we say, “Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come”, what does that mean? Some would change the word kingdom to ‘the Will of God for the world’.
God’s Will for the world is that our world becomes a place of compassion, equality, diversity, respect, love for everyone, even our enemies, and care of the earth so it continues to give us life.
Fr. Richard Gula says that “Compassion lets them – immigrants, homeless, those marginalized by racism and sexism – be present to us by letting their circumstances bring us to tears and moving our hearts to include them… Compassion is the virtue that moves us toward solidarity with those who suffer, rather than toward popularity and privilege through power.” This is the Will of God for the World.
From Joan Chittister, “For those who realize the need for change in society, if justice, peace, and the Will of God for the world are ever to be achieved, the new vision that must be molded requires immersion in the mind of Jesus and time, time, time.”
Jesus taught us not only by what he said but also by what he did. As we follow Jesus, we too must speak out and act. We must become prophets to our world. Sr. Joan Chittister in her book THE TIME IS NOW speaks of the spirituality of prophets. “It is the spirituality of awareness, of choice, of risk, of transformation. It is about the embrace of life, the pursuit of wholeness, the acceptance of others, the call to co-creation… It is a call to live not only in praise of God but in union with God’s will for the world.”
Gerry Thies gave me this rock the other day. It is rough on the outside, not much to look at. However, when you look inside it is beautiful, smooth, glowing. Maybe this is the call to make God’s kingdom, God’s will for the world, come about through us. On the outside we may not look like much, but inside, because that is where God dwells, is beauty, courage, persistence, respect and gentleness. It is those virtues we need to use to make changes in our world today.
We are called to continue to co-create the world so it more and more conforms to God’s will for the world. We do have help, for Jesus says, “And I tell you, ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened,”
So as we live our vocation to do God’s will for the world, as we stop, look and listen to what God is saying and doing, be assured of the promise that we will receive, we will find, and the door will be opened to us. As Mary McGlone says, “Most of all, the gist of Jesus’ teaching about prayer – and about everything else – is that God wants to give us what will give us life.”
Today as we pray the Our Father, just before we receive Communion, think about what we are praying. Maybe take one of the petitions and work on it all week. If we let it sink into us, we will become those prophets who point the way to a new creation, God’s will for the world.
Mary McGlone, NATIONAL CATHOLIC REPORTER, July 15-24, 2019. Page 19
Fr. Richard M. Gula, PSS, quoted in GIVE US THIS DAY July 2019, Pages 104 & 105.
Sr. Joan Chittister, OSB, THE TIME IS NOW: A CALL TO UNCOMMON COURAGE. Convergent Books 2019. Pages16 & 17.