HOMILY: SATURDAY 29TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME, YEAR A
THEME: A PLACE FOR PRAYER.
By: Fr. Karabari Paul
‘In these days Jesus went out into the hills to pray; and all night He continued in prayer to God’
It is good to spend time praying with others, but it is also vitally important that we spend time alone with God. Abraham had a special place where he met with God. So did Daniel. When his life was threatened, Daniel went ‘home to his upstairs room…Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before’ (Daniel 6:10).
Jesus also had a special place also. The Gospel of today (Luke 6:12-19) tells us that ‘Jesus went out into the hills to pray; and all night he continued in prayer to God.’
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It can be a good idea to establish a ‘God place’ in our lives. This doesn’t mean that we can only seek God in one place. He can be found everywhere. But having a specific place to go and meet with Him can help us remove all distractions and focus on Him. It can be a private place where we can take off all the masks we have been wearing, and be open and honest before God. Jesus said: ‘When you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you’ (Matthew 6:6). Our ‘God place’ can be anywhere. It’s a place where we can create memories of intimate times with God. When problems and pressures threaten to overwhelm us, we can go to our ‘God place’. When we need guidance, we can go to our ‘God place’. It can become our sanctuary, which simply means ‘a place of refuge and safety.’ It’s a place where we can go and feel safe, no matter what we are facing.
Jesus had a special project at hand; to choose twelve from His disciples. This should teach us the necessity of prayer before we embark on any task. We could pray with our family members if it involves them or alone if it is a private matter. In other words, we have to seek the face of God even before we start up anything. The twelve were to serve as His lieutenants. A prayerful selection became necessary.
There are many times when He chose to pray. 1) He prayed when the pressures of life increased. ‘News about Him spread…so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed…But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed’ (Luke.15-16). It’s when we think we don’t have time to pray that we need to pray most. Spending time with God is a way that we can re-charge and deal with the pressures that we are facing. He can help us get perspective on our situations and to help us prioritise rather than become overwhelmed by everything we need to do.
2) He prayed when important decisions had to be made as we have seen in our passage today. When it came to picking His closest friends and lieutenants, Jesus went to God for guidance. When we are making decisions, we need to be asking God for His wisdom on what we should do. God invites us to discuss things with Him and get His input. The Bible says: ‘I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go’ (Isaiah 48:17)
So before we get caught up in all the business of the day, we need to spend some time alone in prayer. That time praying is time where we can find stability, a clear view and some perspective. There we are reminded that there is nothing we will face in the day that He hasn’t already handled, and He will help us handle things too. It is easy to recognise people who have spent that time in prayer. Their struggles are no different from ours – some are even more challenging just as Jesus’ prayer didn’t remove the presence of Judas. But they have got an inner peace that is there no matter what they are facing. And we can have that peace too, when we choose to spend time connecting with God in prayer. GOD IS STILL ON THE THRONE. May God have mercy on us, heal our world and land, bless and protect us all through Christ Our Lord Amen. Good morning.
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