Sunday, October 20, 2018

OCTOBER 20, 2019

THE GOSPEL STORY TODAY IS AN EXAMPLE OF HUMOR IN SOME OF JESUS’S STORIES. THE WIDOW WILL NOT TAKE NO NOR BEING IGNORED AS AN OPTION. BEING THE STATUS OF A WIDOW IN THAT CULTURE, WHAT DOES SHE HAVE TO LOSE?

SHE IS USING ONE OF SEVERAL TYPES OF PRAYER. ONE TYPE IS PRAISE AND ADORATION, WHICH WE USE HERE AT MASS.

I THINK THE TYPE WE USE MOST OFTEN IS PETITION AND INTERCESSION. WE ARE CONSTANTLY ASKING GOD’S HELP FOR SOMETHING. LORD, MAKE THIS ILLNESS GO AWAY. LORD, HELP A FAMILY MEMBER COPE WITH SOME DIFFICULTY. LORD, HELP ME TO PASS THIS EXAM. LORD, HELP ME FIND A PARKING PLACE IN DOWNTOWN BALTIMORE. YES, WE ASK GOD TO HELP US FOR ALL KINDS OF REASONS.

JESUS HIIMSELF TEACHES US HOW TO PRAY IN THE WORDS OF THE OUR FATHER. ST. PAUL TELLS US TO PRAY ALWAYS AND UNCEASINGLY AND NOT LOSE HEART.

BUT WHAT HAPPENS WHEN OUR PRAYERS DO NOT GET THE RESULTS WE ASK FOR? WHAT IF OUR ILLNESS DOES NOT GO AWAY? WHAT IF OUR FAMILY MEMBER SEEMS TO WORSEN THE SITUATION? HOW DO WE REACT?

PRAYER IS REALLY A DIALOGUE WITH GOD – WE ASK, GOD RESPONDS. THEREIN LIES THE TEST OF FAITH. WE BELIEVE THAT GOD KNOWS WHAT WE WANT BEFORE WE ASK. WE BELIEVE ALSO THAT GOD KNOWS WHAT WILL TRULY BE IN OUR BEST INTEREST. THAT MAY OR MAY NOT BE EXACTLY WHAT WE ASK FOR.

WHEN WE ASK, GOD DOES RESPOND – AFTER ALL, JESUS SAYS GOD WILL GIVE JUSTICE SPEEDILY.  BUT OUR TIMING IS NOT GOD’S TIMING, AND OUR THOUGHTS ARE NOT GOD’S THOUGHTS.  I AM SURE THERE ARE THINGS AND EVENTS FOR WHICH WE HAVE PRAYED THAT DID NOT TURN OUT AS WE HAD WISHED. BUT AFTER OUR REACTION TO THE DISAPPOINTMENT OR SORROW, HAS SOME FAVORABLE TURN OF EVENTS HAPPENED THAT WOULD NOT HAVE IF OUR PRAYER HAD BEEN GRANTED AS WE HAD IMAGINED?

THE QUESTION IS DO WE HAVE THE FAITH AND PATIENCE TO ACCEPT GOD’S RESPONSE TO OUR PRAYERS? IF WE DO, THEN THAT WILL BE THE OCCASION FOR A VERY IMPORTANT BUT TOO OFTEN UNUSED TYPE OF PRAYER AND THAT IS ONE OF THANKSGIVING. WE SAY “THANKS BE TO GOD” AFTER WE HEAR THE SCRIPTURES READ AT MASS BUT HAVE WE TRULY HEARD WHAT WE ARE THANKING GOD FOR?

SOMETIMES WHEN OUR PRAYERS DO NOT RESULT IN WAYS OF OUR CHOOSING, WE ARE TEMPTED TO BE ANGRY WITH GOD. SOMETIMES WHEN THE ISSUE IS SERIOUS AND NO RESULTS SEEM FORTHCOMING, WE ARE TEMPTED TO GIVE UP NOT ONLY ON PRAYER BUT ON GOD. WHAT’S THE POINT?

THE POINT IS A CALL ON OUR HUMILITY AND PATIENCE, HUMILITY IN ACKNOWLEDGING THAT THERE MIGHT BE ANOTHER WAY AND PATIENCE IN WAITING TO SEE HOW IT ALL PLAYS OUT.

ONE WAY TO HELP US DO THAT IS AFTER EVERY PRAYER WE ADD THIS PRAYER OF PETITION. “GOD, GIVE ME THE COURAGE AND GRACE TO HANDLE WHATEVER RESPONSE YOU HAVE FOR ME.”

JESUS ASKED GOD TO SPARE HIM FROM THE PASSION THAT WAS COMING, BUT THEN ADDED, “BUT NOT MY WILL BUT THINE BE DONE.”

THIS IS WHAT THE ENDING OF TODAY’S GOSPEL MEANS WHEN JESUS SAYS, “WHEN THE SON OF MAN COMES, WILL HE FIND FAITH ON EARTH?” HE COMES TO US NOW IN THE EUCHARIST. WILL HE FIND FAITH IN US?

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