HOMILY FOR THE 17TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME YEAR C
THEME: THE POWER OF PRAYER
BY: Fr. Justin Nzekwe.
HOMILY FOR SUNDAY JULY 24 2022
Prayer is the highest treasure we have as Christians. It gives us access to all our rights and privileges as children of God. Abraham as we read in the first reading demonstrates an example of a sincere and intimate prayer. He talked to God as if he was just talking to a fellow human being. He bargained with God, as though he was bargaining with his biological father. He began with asking God if fifty righteous people living in Sodom could stop him from destroying the city, and then he continued asking sequentially until he got to a point he was asking if ten righteous people could save the city of Sodom. God had patience with him, and even agreed to spare the city of Sodom if he finds ten holy people left in the city. God is just, but He is also very merciful. He patiently listened to the importunate prayers of Abraham. God made sure there were not up to ten righteous people in Sodom as Abraham requested, before he allowed his angels to destroy the city.
Jesus in the gospel reading of today, reminds us that we ought always to pray and not to lose heart. He uses a parable to teach us the power of prayer and why we should persist in prayers even when it seems we are being intrusive to God. Jesus said, “ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find, knock and it will be opened to you. Because whoever asks receives and whoever seeks finds and to whoever knocks it will be opened.” When we do not make a request to God through prayers, sometimes he also keep silent on our needs. God knows our needs, but he also expect us to remind him of those needs. Each time we pray, we persuade God to listen to us and to answer our prayers. Prayer makes God to remember his covenant with us as our Father, and to be bound by that same covenant to listen to us as his children. God is too good and always want good things for his children. Jesus asked: “Which father among you, if his son asks him for a fish, will he give him a snake instead of the fish? Or if he asks for an egg, will he give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good things to your children, how much more will your Heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” If we pray and it seems God did not answer, it does not mean that he hates us. In fact God answer all prayers, according to what he sees as best for us. He respects his best intentions, and not our imperfect wishes which might not actually benefit us. He loves us more than we love ourselves, and even when he permits a little suffering on us, it is usually for a purpose which we might not be able to understand at the moment. We shall therefore never give up praying. We should rather pray in season and out of season, before we sleep in the night, when we wake up in the morning, while at work, while at home, in the Church and at everywhere we find ourselves.
Finally, by teaching us the prayer: “Our Father”, Jesus is inviting us to share His vision of this world. The Lord’s Prayer is not as simple as it looks. It is radical and revolutionary: it is a prayer that demands a fundamental change of the world – from being a world of injustice, selfishness and misery, into a world of justice, peace and happiness. It is a prayer that impels us to obey God’s will so that we can be instruments for the transformation of the world into becoming God’s kingdom on earth. We pray in this holy mass that God in his goodness will look into our hearts and grant us all our heart desires that are not sin, we ask this through Christ our Lord, Amen.