Homily for Saturday of the 32nd Week in Ordinary Time Cycle I
Theme: GOD IS ATTENTIVE TO THE NEEDS OF THOSE WHO CALL UPON THE LORD
By: Rev Fr Utazi Prince Marie Benignus
Homily for Saturday November 13 2021
(MEMORIAL OF SAINT FRANCES XAVIER CABRINI)
Wisdom 18: 14-16, 19: 6-9; Psalm 105: 2-3, 36-37, 42-43; Luke 18: 1-8
I pray for you: May you continue to turn to God and lift up your prayer, acknowledging who God is, your need for Holy Spirits assistance, your gratitude for what the Lord Jesus has done in your life, and presenting your concerns to the Father who knows what is best for you. Amen
I read a story on one of the television series of the fifties and sixties entitled “Father Knows Best”. The premise of the series was that Jim Anderson (played by Robert Young) always knew what was best for his family. Although some described the show as paternalistic in the way Jim ruled his family, it also presented a parallel to our Father in Heaven who truly knows what is best for us. One of the key aspects for me was the way Jim related to his wife (Margaret) and his three children (Betty, Bud, and Kathy). We need to develop an even more positive way of relating to our Father, by acknowledging who God is. We can recall how God has touched our lives, communally and personally. We also need to turn to our Father in heaven and present our concerns and needs, knowing that Our Father in Heaven knows the best. And we need to express our gratitude for all our Father in heaven has done and continues to do for us, in and through Jesus Christ Our Lord, and in the unity of the Holy Spirit.
The First Reading retells the story of the Exodus. It describes the night of Passover when God sent death to the Egyptians. It then continues by relating the story of how God opened the waters of the Red Sea and allowed the Chosen People to pass through the sea. The reading concludes with the recounting of the rejoicing of the people whom God had saved.
The Responsorial Psalm describes the Exodus events as God fulfilling the promises made to Abraham and his descendants. The psalmist proclaims the glory of the Lord for bringing the Chosen People to freedom through the events of the Exodus. The Exodus demonstrates that God keeps the divine promises made to Abraham and his descendants, and that God has taken a liking to the people who call out in need.
In the Gospel, Jesus shares a parable and concludes it by saying that God responds to the pleas of the people not because of the continued supplications, but because God loves them and gives them what is best. He urges His disciples to be steadfast in prayer. To get His point across, He tells the parable of the dishonest judge who final gives in to the pleading of a widow because of her non-stop pestering of the judge. Jesus ends the Gospel by telling His disciples that the Heavenly Judge is more compassionate and loving than the dishonest judge and will respond to the pleas of those who seek divine help much more willingly and without the need for badgering like the widow had done against the earthly judge.
However, it also stresses the need for our consistent prayer to, and relationship with, God.
Dear Sisters and Brothers, the readings of today remind me of Gods great concern for all people, but especially those who call upon the Lord Jesus for help. God is more loving and caring than any earthly parent or authority figure. God wants us to lift up our prayers of petition to heaven, not because God does not know what we need, but because it shows our reliance on the Lord Jesus and our acknowledgment of our need of divine help. God has promised to hear our prayers and to be faithful to the promises of attending to the needs of those who trust in God. Again, our response when God answers our prayers should be heartfelt joy and grateful exuberance. Just as the Israelites danced and sang for joy as they were released from the slavery imposed upon them by the Egyptians, especially after they had crossed through the Sea which then drowned the pursuing Egyptian forces, so we, too, should rejoice with thankful praise and song.
Dearly beloved, we are approaching the season of thanksgiving, the season of Christmas. In this period, many people are organizing several events of joy, ranging from wedding, annual thanksgiving and so on. But, thanksgiving should not be just an annual festivity. Instead, it should be the hallmark of our lives as disciples of the Lord Jesus. Each day we should reflect how God has touched our lives and we should respond with thankful hearts, joyful voices, and responsive actions.
At this juncture, we should be reminded of the meaning of prayer. We who use English as our mother tongue have a misunderstanding of the concept of prayer. Part of it flows from the derivation of the word prayer. The English word pray means beg or plead in such as phrases as pray thee tell. The Hebrew word for prayer is berakah, which can be translated as bless or thank. The true purpose of prayer is four-fold, only one of which centers on asking God for favors. Prayer is first and foremost adoration acknowledging God for who God is. The second purpose of prayer is contrition or confession admitting who we are in Gods sight that is, that we are sinners, in need of forgiveness. The third end of prayer is thanksgiving praising God for what God has done, is doing, and will continue to do for us.
The fourth, and not most important, aspect of prayer is supplication presenting our needs to God and asking God to be faithful to the divine promises to care for us who call upon the name of the Lord Jesus. Even in our petitioning of God for help, we should adore and thank God as we ask. We can praise the Lord Jesus for what we believe God will do for us in the particular needs we present. We can also acknowledge who we are in relationship with God people in need of Gods help. With expectant gratitude we lift up our concerns to the God Who answers our prayer, always conscious of what is best for us.
*MEDITATION* What is my understanding of prayer? Is it merely my sending my requests to God? Do I spend as much time adoring and thank God for Who God is and what God has done for me and for all humanity? Am I consistent and persistent in my time of prayer, not to win God over to my side, but to be in relationship with my Abba Who happens to be God? How can I demonstrate to others the adoration and thanksgiving aspects of my prayer life? Am I comfortable praying audibly with others?
*PRAYER* Lord God, through the example of Your Son, Jesus, and the guidance and direction of Your Holy Spirit, may we never cease to pray to You. Through Christ Our Lord. AMEN
*O DIVINE WORD, WHO TOOK FLESH FOR HUMAN SAKE, REDEEM US IN OUR SITUATION*
© Rev Fr Utazi Prince Marie Benignus