18th Sunday in Ordinary Time
The Gospel this weekend is this.
He 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." 2 He said to them, "When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come. 3 Give us each day our daily bread 4 and forgive us our sins for we ourselves forgive everyone in debt to us, and do not subject us to the final test." 5 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, 6 for a friend of mine has arrived at my house from a journey and I have nothing to offer him,' 7 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.' 8 I tell you, if he does not get up to give him the loaves because of their friendship, he will get up to give him whatever he needs because of his persistence. 9 "And I tell you, ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. 11 What father among you would hand his son a snake when he asks for a fish? 12 Or hand him a scorpion when he asks for an egg? 13 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?"
The first reading is this:
Then the LORD said: "The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great, and their sin so grave, 21 that I must go down and see whether or not their actions fully correspond to the cry against them that comes to me. I mean to find out." 22 While the two men walked on farther toward Sodom, the LORD remained standing before Abraham. 23 Then Abraham drew nearer to him and said: "Will you sweep away the innocent with the guilty? 24 Suppose there were fifty innocent people in the city; would you wipe out the place, rather than spare it for the sake of the fifty innocent people within it? 25 Far be it from you to do such a thing, to make the innocent die with the guilty, so that the innocent and the guilty would be treated alike! Should not the judge of all the world act with justice?" 26 The LORD replied, "If I find fifty innocent people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake."
27 Abraham spoke up again: "See how I am presuming to speak to my Lord, though I am but dust and ashes! 28 What if there are five less than fifty innocent people? Will you destroy the whole city because of those five?" "I will not destroy it," he answered, "if I find forty-five there." 29 But Abraham persisted, saying, "What if only forty are found there?" He replied, "I will forebear doing it for the sake of the forty." 30 Then he said, "Let not my Lord grow impatient if I go on. What if only thirty are found there?" He replied, "I will forebear doing it if I can find but thirty there." 31 Still he went on, "Since I have thus dared to speak to my Lord, what if there are no more than twenty?" "I will not destroy it," he answered, "for the sake of the twenty." 32 But he still persisted: "Please, let not my Lord grow angry if I speak up this last time. What if there are at least ten there?" "For the sake of those ten," he replied, "I will not destroy it."
The second reading is this:
You were buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead. 13 And even when you were dead (in) transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, he brought you to life along with him, having forgiven us all our transgressions; 14 obliterating the bond against us, with its legal claims, which was opposed to us, he also removed it from our midst, nailing it to the cross.
This Sunday is about Jesus teaching the 'Our Father'… of mercy.
It asks for 'our daily bread' and forgiveness etc. and he praises the example of persistence and effort in the asking. The first reading emphasizes the importance of asking 'forgive us our trespasses'. The second praises the fact that Christ has freed us of the strict law of the Old Testament.
Our Father is very merciful, and He wants to give us all Eternal Life in paradise, but He would like us to ask for it persistently and from the heart. That asking requires humility and that humility delights God. It's like a doorway to Heaven. Also, it would help train us to be people that forgive others.
The example of the man asking for bread, is praising the effort put in to asking, and it's interesting that he's asking for it in order to give to someone else - a visitor. We ask for forgiveness as we forgive those who need our forgiveness.
The first reading is about God forgiving Sodom andGomorrah (Gen 18), and Abraham has to ask for it with persistence. The second reading is praising the fact that Jesus allowed himself be crucified, precisely in order to gain forgiveness for us, and his Resurrection is clarifying for us that He was successful. Forgiveness has been granted (Col 2). The mercy of God wins over the sin of man! But does it win over your heart?
It makes me think of the Prodigal Son (Lk 15). Thomas More used to describe that as a summary of the whole of the Gospel. Man can fail to live as a son, but God won't stop being a father! The fact that people can confess sins and be forgiven is one of the joys of being a priest. Jean Viannay (Curs de Ars in France 1785-1859) used to sit on a chair in the grounds of his church and spend nearly all his time hearing people's confessions (and, of course, forgiving them!), and the Church named him, patron of priests! I like the stories of the missionary Damian of Molokai who worked with lepars on thatIsland in the back of beyonds. When a boat of helpers passed the island, with a priest on board, Damian didn't ask them to disembark and risk staying among the lepars, but he asked for one thing: that the priest hear his confession! He ended up with leprosy himself, but I'd be fairly confident that he was well received in heaven!
Some go to confession with a list of sins as if it were a technical cleaning of a machine, but I think that it should be more like a trip home to have a joyful reunion with our 'dad'! As it says in Jeremiah 18, about the visit to the potter, God can make something beautiful out of what seems to have many faults. And God doesn't impose or make demands, like a cold employer. The Good Shepard in Luke 15 (just before the parable of the Prodigal Son), carries the lost sheep back over his shoulder. The woman that was a sinner in Luke 8 appreciated the Good News of mercy and she kisses the feet of Jesus in thanks, and that pleases him much more than all the 'teachers of the law' that were there. Will we please Jesus as we give thanks today ('eucharist')? Mary doesn't say "I'm glad that I've achieved glory as the mother of Christ", but she says "I'm glad that God chose me in spite of my littleness".
17º Domingo: Gen 18:20-32. Col 2:12-14. Lc 11:1-13
Este Domingo Jesús enseña el 'Padre Nuestro'… de misericordia.
Pide por 'nuestro pan de cada día' etc. y propone pedir con esfuerzo y persistencia. Las dos primeras lecturas subrayan el 'perdona nuestros pecados'.
Nuestro Padre es muy misericordioso, y nos quiere dar a todos la Vida Eterna en el paraíso, pero le gustaría que le pidamos desde el corazón. Este pedir necesita humildad y a Dios le encanta la humildad. Es como puerta del Cielo. También nos ayudaría ser personas que perdonan a los otros.
El ejemplo del hombre pidiendo pan, está alabando al que pide con esfuerzo y persistencia, y es interesante que lo esta pidiendo para dar a otro - a un visitante. Pedimos perdón 'como nosotros perdonamos a nuestros deudores.
La primera lectura es; Dios perdonando a Sodoma y Gomora (Gen 18), y Abrahán tiene que pedirle con persistencia. La segunda lectura alaba al hecho que Jesús aguantó la condenación de los hombres para ganar el perdón para nosotros, y su Resurrección nos clarifica que tuvo éxito. El perdón ha sido alcanzado (Col 2). ¡La misericordia de Dios ha ganado sobre el pecado del hombre, pero ¿gana tu corazón?.
Me hace pensar en el Higo Prodigo (Lc 15). Tomás Moro lo describía como resumen de todo el Evangélio. El hombre puede olvidar de vivir como hijo, ¡pero Dios no puede dejar de ser padre! El hecho de que la gente puede confesar pecados y estar perdonada es uno de los mayores gozos de ser sacerdote. Jean Viannay (el Curs de Ars en Francia 1785-1859) solía quedarse sentado ante su iglesia y pasó mucho tiempo escuchando confesiones (¡y por supuesto dando el perdón!), ¡y la Iglesia le ha nombrado patróno de los sacerdotes!. Me gusta lo que se dice de Damián de Molokai, que trabajó con los leprosos en aquella isla perdida. Cuando un barco de ayudantes pasó por la isla, con un sacerdote, Damián no quiso que desembarquen por el riesgo de la lepra, pero pidió una cosa: ¡que el sacerdote escuche su confesión! Acabó él mismo muriendo de la lepra, ¡pero seguramente fue bien recibido en el Cielo!
Algunos van a la confesión con una lista de pecados como si fuera una limpieza técnica de maquina, ¡pero yo creo que debería ser como una vuelta al hogar para una reunión gozosa con nuestro ¡'papá'! Como dice en Jeremías 18 de la visita a la casa del alfarero, Dios puede hacer cosa bella de algo que parece tener muchos fallos. Y Dios no impone ni exige, como empleador frío. El Buen Pastor en Lucas 15 (justo antes de la parábola del Hijo Prodigo), lleva a la oveja perdida sobre sus hombros. La pecadora en Lucas 8, aprecia a la Buena Nueva y besa a los pies de Jesús en agradecimiento, y esto le gusta más que los 'maestros de la ley' que estaban allí. ¿Le gustará a Jesús como daremos gracias hoy ('eucaristía')? Maria no dice “Me alegro por haber alcanzado yo la gloria como madre de Cristo”, sino dice “Me alegro en Dios que me eligió a pesar de mi pequeñez”.
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