Homily for the 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C (7)

Homily for the 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C




Homily for Sunday July 28 2019

• The readings today present an ensemble of lessons on the manner, method and model of Christian prayer. In the gospel, Jesus presents the Lord’s prayer as both a prayer to be said and a sample to be learned. In deed, Our Father is about the most powerful and the greatest prayer of the Church taught by Jesus Himself. It is not just a mere prayer to be recited hastily and unthinkingly! It teaches us all, the need to pray, what to pray for (content) and how to pray (prayer attitudes) and so presents a perfect paradigm for effective prayer.
• Our attitude today is that of Jesus’ disciples. Today we stand at his feet asking Him to teach us how to pray for this inability may have been the cause of our often ineffective prayer! We learn from the treasuries of today’s liturgy, and especially the Gospel, what the Lord wants us to know about both prayer attitudes and content.
1. TRUST: Effective prayer needs sincere trust in the Father’s love and providence who for the sake of 10 righteous men would not destroy a whole sinful nation and who would not base his judgement on a mere outcry without a personal encounter and therefore teaches us the principles of justice. The revolution is from a God whose name cannot even be mentioned, to a Father who attends to us with the love of a compassionate father. Abraham demonstrated this filial trust and ‘son-like’ disposition in the 1st R. (cf. Acl of today-Rom. 8: 15, also Psalm 9: 10-those who know your name). To pray well, we need to, and in faith, trust in His love, ability, and wisdom to give us not just what we ask but what is good! {*Fish/serpent, egg/scorpion deception }(cf. Gospel) My God is able…Ihe nile gbasara m…
2. GRATITUDE/WORSHIP: to His name and for favours received. A grateful heart is a graceful heart. Only when we give God His place that other things take their proper place. The Resp. Psalm of today captures this spirit of gratitude.
3. SUBMISSION TO HIS WILL: an attitude that shows disposition to accept His will in our lives which is always for our greatest good. {*Burning hot/ aeroplane/king & servant/pastor who abandoned God. }This attitude enables perseverance and attitude of calm in the heat of storms.
4. KINGDOM SERVICE: Our prayers must be accompanied with a readiness to advance the frontiers of God’s kingdom, to move this Kingdom forward, to feel His passion for the salvation of mankind which cost him the pain of the Cross (2nd R), to collaborate with Him in the ministry of the Church; the ministry of saving souls. Thus, when we say ‘thy Kingdom come’, we also affirm our readiness to activate His kingdom both in our lives and that of others, now and forever Amen.
5. CONTENTMENT/DEPENDENCE: This is a further expression of Trust in Him and fulfilment in our selves. It is an attitude that has discovered that the secret of joy is not in having a haven thrust to you but in making a haven with what you have. I do not ask to see the distant scene… (cf. Also Exodus 16: 11-21). ‘Give us this day….’ is thus both a message on a sense of contentment that should accompany our prayers and also a sense of daily dependence on God irrespective of who we eventually become.
6. CONTRITION: Prayer should be approached with a positive sense of sin and with humility. It is unfortunate how many people refuse to look at themselves in prayer and see how their sin affects their prayer. Cf. Jer. 7: 1-11. Part of the problem of Sodom and Gomorrah is lack of sense of sin. We must acknowledge our sinfulness and unworthiness as we approach the Holy of Holies in prayer. Thus, we hear Jesus today saying ‘forgive us our trespasses….’
7. SELFLESSNESS: This is the attitude that sees others as part of what also makes me. It is the attitude of ‘us’ instead of ‘me’. Abraham shows a great example in the 1st R. Of today by his intercessory prayer. This is also what makes it ‘Our Father’ and not ‘My Father). We must also think about others in our prayers. *Ubuntu
8. GOOD WILL: Many approach God with unforgiveness in their hearts forgetting the stipulations of Matt. 5: 23ff. We must pray with an open heart free from bitterness for our neighbour. Goodwill also involves the willingness to give to others what we ask of the Lord. Jesus gives us an example in 2nd R.
9.SENSE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS: Prayer must be attended with a readiness to resist and avoid sin and all evils from self, world and devil, and Live in Him. Divine Grace is always complemented with human effort. ‘Lead us not into test….’
10. PERSISTENCE/STEADFASTNESS: Prayer in not a one-time affair but a life-long venture and so must posses tenacity. Jesus gives us a model in the Gospel by constantly praying and asks us further to keep on praying.
• Jesus teaches us today and especially in the Lord’s prayer, not just attitudes in prayer but also forms of prayer. These include:
• Thanksgiving Prayer/ Praise prayer/ Adoration Prayer (These three are also captured in the psalm of today)/Petition or Supplication Prayer/ Prayer for Forgiveness/ Meditative Prayer/ Intercessory Prayers / Deliverance prayers etc.
• In all, the coverage of the prayer is the present needs (our daily bread), the lived past (our past sin), and the uncertain future (future temptations/tests)
• Our prayer should reflect all these forms of prayer!
• We need to ask Jesus again today to teach us how to say the Prayer and how to live the prayer of Jesus for Jesus has taught us that:
• Prayer in deed is a life and not just a recitation. It is also an address to and communication with a Loving Father/ It is much more than a call at night by a friend in need to a sacrificing and unwilling neighbour (cf. Gospel parable of contrast)/It is a purification of heart/ It is an attempt to see the world, history and people as God sees them!
• The 2nd R reminds us what Christ has done to incorporate us into His body, thus, being in Christ we must learn to pray like Him. For our kneeling helps us in right standing with God and there is no stumbling in kneeling.
• What place does prayer hold in your life? How many of us will rise today from a dormant and inactive prayer life to a fruitful prayer life? The assurance of Jesus is that we would never ask in vain. This assurance is also captured in today’s psalm! Lets ask with confidence! Lets shun the whole idea of prayer contractors and begin to relate to God as sons and daughters that we are! Happy Sunday beloved friends!
• Ekpere oh, ekpere/ Prayer is the key!

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