Homily for the 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C
By: Bishop Tom McKenna crosf
Homily for Sunday July 28 2019
Readings from Genesis 18:20 – 32 Colossians 2: 12-14 Luke 11: 1-13
This Sunday the reading taken from Genesis tells the story of Abraham trying to bargain with God after he heard from God that the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah may be destroyed due to the cries of people who told the Lord the sins of the people in those wealthy city deserved the greatest retribution, complete destruction. But Abraham did not want that to happen. Why not? Was Abraham seeking mercy? Was he not in favor of total blame for the sins of some but perhaps not all? Or was there another possible motive in play? The answer to the question comes to mind if we consider a few facts presented earlier.
First, Abraham had his nephew, Lot, who lived in Sodom and had a heard of sheep there as well. We also know Lot continually had good business with those sinners and was prosperous because of it. Second, Abraham also had done business with trading with men from either city and did well with it. We do hear from Abraham is a series of “what ifs.” To me it sounds like a man with other than moral indignation motivating him. But God agreed to bargain. Of course God knew the facts as he always does while Abraham was trying to make excuses for whatever reason. But once God’s final word was given, Abraham pleaded that Lot be permitted to feel with his animals and wife. And that took place even as the destruction began. They escaped.
God forbade Abraham and his people and Lot and his groups not to look back on the cities. They obeyed with the exception of Lot’s wife who just could not fight off the desire to see all her wonderful goods being destroyed. She was turned into a pillar of salt.
But why did God permit Lot to escape? Wasn’t he included in the “not one good person for whom God would save the city?” I will say no more.
So we move to the gospel passage as written by Saint Luke. In it we hear the answer Jesus gave to his disciples who asked him to teach them how to pray as John the Baptizer taught his disciples. And Jesus told them, “When you pray, say: ‘Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread. Forgive us our sins for we too forgive all who are indebted to us; and do not let us be subject ed to temptations.”
This is not what most of us were taught to say when we were children. We were taught to remember the Lord’s Prayer as written in the gospel according to Matthew. Matthew concludes the prayer by having Jesus say, “… and deliver us from the Evil One.” That addition makes a lot of sense to me.
When Mark wrote about Jesus answer about what to say as they stood for prayer, he quoted this reply by Jesus: “And whenever you stand praying, forgive if you have anything against anyone so that your Father in heaven may forgive your trespasses.” But he also added that Jesus said they should say this prayer three times each day.
So if you have a religious education class for the children, what version of the Lord’s Prayer will you try to teach to kindergarten?
So what is the best Lord’s Prayer?