The Gospel reading on Sunday, the 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time, calls to us a complete trust in God the Father. In the passage Jesus offers us the Lord’s Prayer ( in a more primitive form than the liturgical version with which we are now most familiar) and encourages to consider afresh how we respond to those in need – those we love and those whose need we find inconvenient.
Once Jesus was in a certain place praying, and when he had finished one of his disciples said, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.’ He said to them, ‘Say this when you pray: “Father, may your name be held holy, your kingdom come; give us each day our daily bread, and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive each one who is in debt to us. And do not put us to the test.”’
He also said to them, ‘Suppose one of you has a friend and goes to him in the middle of the night to say, “My friend, lend me three loaves, because a friend of mine on his travels has just arrived at my house and I have nothing to offer him”; and the man answers from inside the house, “Do not bother me. The door is bolted now, and my children and I are in bed; I cannot get up to give it you.” I tell you, if the man does not get up and give it him for friendship’s sake, persistence will be enough to make him get up and give his friend all he wants.
‘So I say to you: Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you. For the one who asks always receives; the one who searches always finds; the one who knocks will always have the door opened to him. What father among you would hand his son a stone when he asked for bread? Or hand him a snake instead of a fish? Or hand him a scorpion if he asked for an egg? If you then, who are evil, know how to give your children what is good, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!’
As our guide and encouragement Jesus offers us the faithfulness of God. It is in his love we trust; his love that we are invited to imitate.
Sanctuary of the Eleona Church, Jerusalem (build over the cave on the Mount of Olives where tradition holds that Jesus taught the Lord’s Prayer.) (c) 2013, Allen Morris