Sunday 24 July 2022

About Today Readings

17th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Genesis 18:20-32. Lord, on the day I called for help, you answered me – Psalm 137(138):1-3, 6-8. Colossians 2:12-14. Luke 11:1-13.

Praying for the Holy Spirit

The readings today seem to be about badgering God to give us what we want. But that is not the relationship made in prayer with the Judeo-Christian God. In Luke, Jesus at first compares prayer to irritating a neighbour persistently until he gives the caller the bread. But in Genesis, Abraham persists to save Sodom, unsuccessfully. The psalm praises and thanks God, overflowing with prayerful gratitude for being delivered from enemies – but ends on a plaintive note: ‘Do not forsake the work of your hands,’ as if things still hang in the balance. And in Colossians, Paul speaks of God accomplishing things before they were even requested: ‘When you were dead in your trespasses . . . God made you alive. . .’ What is going on? The truth emerges: in Luke, finally Jesus tells us what to pray for – not every passing thing that we think we want, but for the Holy Spirit, which is who we need.

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