Gospel Thoughts 25 July 2010

July 23, 2010 at 11:20 Leave a comment


In today’s Gospel Story (Luke 11:1-13) Jesus’ disciples ask him to teach them how to pray. He replies not so much with words as with an invitation to enter into the relationship that gives rise to his prayer, the relationship he shares with his Father. The words of what we have come to know as the Our Father both describe this relationship, and teach us to express our desire to enter into it with Jesus and each other.

In the Opening Prayer we ask God to “open our eyes to see your hand at work in the splendor of creation and the beauty of human life”. We go on to say, “Touched by your hand our world is holy”. With all we are involved in these days both near and far these words seem unrealistic and out of touch. Then we hear Jesus inviting us to go with him. In our relationship with him we are expressing both our belief in God’s loving power, and our desire to work with him in helping his kingdom come, in other words, to live what we pray in the Opening Prayer. We come to realize, sometimes in very practical circumstances, our complete and total dependence on God. It might be both disturbing and comforting at the same time.

“How much more will the Father in heaven give?” For many of us it is pretty difficult to imagine God as part of our everyday life. We prefer to keep him at a distance, out there rather watching us than right here with us. We just don’t know – yet. We would say we believe that God is good, that grace is real, that God answers prayers. These are nice ideas, but how do we relate them to the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, the oil spill in the Gulf, the faltering economy and job market, nosey neighbors. We have knocked so many times and nothing has been opened for us, asked so many times and nothing has been given to us. To protect ourselves and our way of thinking we have come up with many explanations about God answering our prayers. It is important it seems for us to have some sense of control over the apparent disconnects and disorder.

Jesus goes on to say that what the Father wants to give us is the Holy Spirit, the love and life Jesus and the Father share with each other. For us the Holy Spirit is a doctrine, ad idea, an attempt to explain another idea, the Trinity. But as we begin to find out for ourselves as we try to open ourselves to Jesus on his terms, the Holy Spirit is a Person and an experience that gives meaning and context to absolutely everything in our life. When we ask our Father for the Holy Spirit, we would like to tell him what we expect and how we will accept what we are asking for. We have not yet accepted the gift of trusting openness.

We believe our Father loves us as we are. To live in openness to this loving is not easy. We want somehow to control it, to give ourselves some sense of power. We just don’t know any better. When we begin to let God be God, our journey becomes exciting. What is, is, and in what is we find God on God’s terms, not on our terms. God is not dull, and he has a lot to ask us to do as we work with God to continue creating and saving creation. God’s plans do not seem to be small, and God has set things up so that each of us is important and necessary, and none of us is an accident. We are where we need to be wherever we are.

The words of the Opening Prayer become real as we begin to cherish the gifts that surround us, and start to share our blessing with others, and really come “to experience the joy of life in your presence”.

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Entry filed under: Catholic, Gospel thoughts, Priest.

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