Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C
Genesis 18:20-32; Psalm 138:1-3, 6-8; Colossians 2:12-14; Luke11:1-13
As human beings we are wired for communication. We have an innate desire to relate to “the other” to express our deepest needs, desires and our bucket lists of general wants. Our manner of expressing ourselves is truly a form of art as diverse as our own personalities. Through verbal and non-verbal means we can be direct, hint, beat around the bush or engage in something in between. No matter what the form, our activity—whether we realize it or not— is relational. We communicate to get a response.
In Sunday's Gospel account, Luke helps us to see that God deeply desires our prayerful response to his invitation to relationship. Luke shares with us a “how-to” communicate with God. Sometimes we can become so caught up in our everyday lives that we fail to recognize that our acting on God's invitation is “required.” We might expect God to automatically give us what we need—perhaps subconsciously we just chalk it up to God already knowing our every thought and desire. Jesus in instructing his disciples, infers that our expectations are not enough. He provides us with a perfect model for prayer which emphasizes the need for mindfulness in approaching God with our every desire for ourselves and for the world.
Through Jesus' example of a persistent “mindful” neighbor, we are, as also seen in other places in Scripture, being invited to take on the nature of a child in our relationship with God. What parent can ignore the persistent beckoning of a child as they seek to communicate a definitive need to Mom or Dad? Only a response of some kind will meet the child's criteria for ending the quest. We also see this kind of persistence in the first reading as Abraham “negotiates” with God to save the good people of Sodom and Gomorrah. God's response in both Scripture accounts to persistent approaching and asking is an outpouring of love and mercy.
Jesus invites us to see that God so deeply desires that we become persistent “askers” and seekers. He invites us to accept God's invitation to loving relationship He challenges us to mindfully reflect on the experiences of our daily lives so that we are ready to approach God from the deepest recesses of our hearts. In persistently placing our desires for ourselves, others and the whole world community before God, we live in the hope of God responding with overflowing mercy for that which God knows we need.
Sister BarbaraAnn Sgro, OP