Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time Genesis 18:20-32; Ps 138: 1-3,6-8; Colossians 2; 12-14; Luke 11:1-13; Matthew 5:7.
“The quality of mercy is not strained. It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven. It is twice blessed: It blesseth the one that gives and the one that takes…It is an attribute to God and earthly power doth then show likest God’s When mercy seasons justice.” (Shakespeare)
The poet, not unlike the prophets, acknowledges the nature of God’s mercy: forgiving, compassionate, and loving. We see these qualities expressed in today’s readings.
In the Collect we pray that God “bestow in abundance your mercy upon us”. In the first reading from Genesis, Abraham through challenging but gentle persuasion elicits God’ s mercy toward deeply sinful Sodom and Gomorrah even if there are only ten innocent people.
In the Responsorial Psalm, God’s mercy echoes in the response, “Lord, on the day I called for help, you answered me”.
In the second reading from Colossians, “And even when you were dead in transgressions…he (Jesus) brought you to life along with him, having forgiven us all our transgressions…”
In the Gospel according to Luke, Jesus, in response to his disciples request to teach them to pray likens prayer to our God as if we were talking to a parent and God’s answer like a parent wanting what is best for the child.
Thus we have the Our Father or the Lord’s Prayer and Jesus’ merciful words, “ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you”. Like our earthly parents God will respond, but with much more, to our requests.
Finally, in the Communion Antiphon from Matthew 5, we have the beatitude, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy”.
Let us be in good relationship with our God and consonant with the Jubilee of Mercy: “Wherever there are Christians, everyone should find an oasis of mercy” (Pope Francis).
Sr. Beryl Herdt, OP