Carry the gospel with you

Posted in christian, Christianity, inspirational, religion, scripture by Mike on July 25, 2010

Gospel reading of the day:

Luke 11:1-13

Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples.” He said to them, “When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread and forgive us our sins for we ourselves forgive everyone in debt to us, and do not subject us to the final test.”

And he said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend to whom he goes at midnight and says, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, for a friend of mine has arrived at my house from a journey and I have nothing to offer him,’ and he says in reply from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door has already been locked and my children and I are already in bed. I cannot get up to give you anything.’ I tell you, if he does not get up to give the visitor the loaves because of their friendship, he will get up to give him whatever he needs because of his persistence.

“And I tell you, ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. What father among you would hand his son a snake when he asks for a fish? Or hand him a scorpion when he asks for an egg? If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?”

Reflection on the gospel reading: We have two accounts, one in Luke and one in Matthew, of Jesus’ disciples asking the Master to give them a prayer. In the passage from Luke that we have on this 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Jesus’ disciples approach him and ask him to teach them to pray. Jesus replies with the Lord’s prayer, a more spare and perhaps more accurate form of the Lord’s prayer than what we find in Matthew’s gospel.

The prayer, as Luke records it, has various characteristics that teach us much about praying: reliance on God as a parent common to us all, acknowledgment of God’s greatness, an aspiration for God to establish God’s reign, and a request for the things that sustain our lives: food and the graces of forgiveness and compassion toward others, and being saved from evil. Food is the only request made for individual physical needs; everything else is about our relationships with God and others.

In this rendering of the Lord’s prayer and the paragraphs that follow it, Jesus teaches us that the way we pray and what we ask for says a lot about who we are and who we are in relationship to God. If we pray constantly, as Jesus advises elsewhere in the gospels, we can learn about what best serves as the appropriate object of our prayer. And as we deepen our dependence on God, by entering into the spirit of the Lord’s prayer, we will learn to ask less for the things we want and more for the things that God desires of us. In a subtle and wonderful way, this passage from Luke suggests then that the ultimate goal of prayer is to foster a more perfect relationship between us and God.

power of GodSpiritual reading: He is the power of God. He is the reason. He is His wisdom and glory. He enters into a virgin; being the Holy Spirit, He is endued with the flesh. God is mingled with man. This is our God, this is Christ, who, as the mediator of the two, puts on man that He may lead them to the Father. What man is, Christ was willing to be, that man also may be what Christ is. (St. Cyprian)

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