Cropped shot of a man's hands holding a rosary

17th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 24 July 2022

As Jesus travels towards Jerusalem, he instructs his followers about the meaning of discipleship, so it is not surprising that at some stage of the journey Jesus focus’ on prayer.

Jesus is a model of prayer and in Luke’s Gospel is regularly at prayer. Prayer becomes the mark of the true disciple and distinguishes the follower of Jesus from others.

Prayer emerges from the fact that it puts those who pray in touch with the generosity of God and therefore prayer isn’t about strategies or words, but rather a God who listens.

In the “Our Father”, Jesus sets before his disciples a model of prayer that has two important aspects: familiarity and petition. Jesus addresses God as “Father” in prayer, a word that expresses an intimate relationship (familiarity) with the creator. The “Our Father” is also a prayer of petition, where the disciples are taught what their real needs are and to whom they need to go for satisfaction. The petition, in turn, asks of God to fulfil his name, reign and care and protection of God’s people.

The parable that follows places emphasis on the high value placed on hospitality in Middle Eastern cultures. Travellers depended on friends of friends for lodging along the way and it was unthinkable that a request would be denied. In the light of this, the neighbour finally responds, not because he was badgered, but because he feared the shame that would accompany refusal. So, if the neighbour who is initially prone to refuse requests finally responds to avoid shame, how much more will God respond to the pleas of the people of God? Emphatically, God can be trusted to answer our calls for mercy and help.

Prayer is rooted in the kindliness and generosity of God, thus making it possible for even the unworthy, stumbling disciple to offer petition for the journey.

There is something comforting about the listening presence of God. Prayer becomes an accompaniment for the disciple. Life changes regularly and the need to pray really anchors oneself to the certainty of the generous and kind God. With at world of change, this changeless nature of God gently directs the disciple to their true eternal home.

There is something comforting about the listening presence of God. Prayer becomes a necessary aspect of discipleship. Life changes regularly, so prayer and reflection really anchors oneself to the certainty of the generous and kind God. With this world of change, this changeless nature of God gently directs the prayerful disciple to their true eternal home.

“You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.”

St Augustine.                                    

Fr Stephen Berecz.

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