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Contents: Volume 2 - 17th Sunday - C
July 24, 2022







1. -- Lanie LeBlanc OP

2. -- Dennis Keller

3. -- Brian Gleeson CP

4. --

5. --(Your reflection can be here!)





Sun. 17 C 2022

Our readings this Sunday are about our relationship with God and ways it can be/become super strong. Although Abraham (or we) can not really change God's mind, our first reading encourages us to have such an intimate relationship with God that we could speak so very freely as Abraham did ... and be heard! It was really Abraham who was changed and empowered to encourage faithful followers amidst an atmosphere of horrible decadence. More than likely, that was already God's Plan.

In our Gospel reading, Jesus tell the disciples and us to speak directly to God about our needs. A modern translation of the Our Father as heard/read in The Message doesn't "sound" much like the Our Father we all say so smoothly (and sometimes sadly without much thought), but its abruptness cuts to the basic intent rather quickly and sharply. Among other things, this translation reminds us not to bargain with God or play a cat and mouse game. Wow, haven't we all been caught on that one sometimes in our lives!?

We are told that we will be heard, and we will receive when we pray. It does not say we will receive exactly what we are asking for. In my experience, I have ALWAYS received something needed when I pray earnestly. Most of the time, it is NOT exactly what I want, but rather a way to accept whatever I am given gracefully as a response, even the opposite or an alternative. I have found such growth to be very satisfying spiritually... although usually in hindsight!

For me, this set of readings helps me to assess how I approach my relationship with God through prayer. It is astonishing to realize that each of us is offered incredible intimacy with the Supreme Being. Who else or what else should be FIRST before the all knowing, all loving, and all powerful One?


Dr. Lanie LeBlanc OP

Southern Dominican Laity





Seventeenth Sunday in Ordered Time July 24 2022

Genesis 18:20-32; Responsorial Psalm 138; Colossians 2:12-14; Gospel Acclamation Romans 8:15; Luke 11:1-13

This Sunday is about prayer, its efficacy, its necessity for a relationship with God. The message is that prayer brings disciples into filling our living, our moments of existence with meaning, purpose, and relevance. Faith begins to make sense to those who pray: Hope becomes the vitality of a life well lived: Charity flows from faith and hope and is the evidence to self of our love for others and then of God.

We are familiar with Abraham bargaining with God. Abraham, a man like all of us, is aware of failures in his relationship with reality and its creator. He knows of Sodom and its reputation for violation of travelers, of passers-by, and its own citizenship. Their sense of other amounted to – "what is in it for me – how can I use others to my advantage – if it satisfies my desire for power, for wealth, for pleasure, for fame – then who cares about whether it is bad for others. Abuse of others means only that I gain. The pain of abusing others for pleasure, for wealth, for power, for fame – that is too bad for those abused and those who love those abused. Tough luck. Even against such depraved people, Abraham pleads for their safety and the possibility of redemption. And God, the Lord, is willing to forego deserved punishment for those evil ones. Certainly, the message for us a huge helping of hope. Even though our sins be as scarlet, even though we have harmed others, robbed them of dignity and worth, even though we have robbed the widow and the orphan, even so, the Lord just might give us another chance at redemption. He may extend his hand in assistance instead of raining down destruction and oblivion. But even for this God of mercy and compassion, there are limits to his mercy to those who continually abuse his people and creation. So, the Lord is kind and merciful – but do not tempt the Lord! God makes available his forgiveness and healing – but do not try God’s patience. Even Abraham realized he was treading on thin ice during his negotiations.

So much for this pleading prayer of the patriarch for the people of Sodom. In the end of the story, Lot and his family evacuated from Sodom and escaped – well all except Lot’s wife, whom we remember just had to look back on her home. She became a pillar of salt for her curiosity.

In the gospel, we hear Luke’s version of the popular Lord’s Prayer. The vast majority of Christians – Catholic and Reformed – recite this prayer from memory. It is a favorite in times of difficulty and tragedy. It rattles off our tongues with great ease. It is truly a Mantra, so much so that often it can put us to sleep. There are obvious two parts to this prayer – the Lord’s part and the people’s part.

A great friend last week encouraged me to read The Our Father, a New Reading by Gerhard Lohfink. It is only 112 pages not counting references. It is available on Kindle from Amazon. Its cost is less than $20 and it is worth much more than that to anyone interested in praying more fervently, more realistically. What is written in this reflection about the Our Father are ideas taken from Lohfink’s work.

The prayer is truly for disciples of the Christ. Every line is about discipleship. Disciples are students on their way to knowledge and change of life. The conflict between the Way of God and the way of the world rages within each person, within each community, within every organization. Lohfink insists this prayer is a dangerous prayer for those who use it to speak with God. Perhaps that is the first of many thoughts about this prayer. Everything mentioned, everything requested, everything acknowledged is about the Kingdom of God and human relationships to that Kingdom. We think of it as a prayer of petition which it is but also a prayer of commitment. And that is dangerous for the selfish part of our hearts.

This prayer, like so much of our spiritual life can be purely ritual. We sing the words, mouth the words, and give those words a meaning that is not consistent with what Jesus taught. We need to get into the sources of those words and what those meant to Jesus. That meaning of Jesus opens for us a wholly larger and impactful meaning that affects our living. The references in the prayer are scriptural.

Let us start with the first two words, "Our Father." The intent and meaning of these words are evident in an episode from Matthew’s gospel (Matthew 12:46-50). In that narrative someone tells Jesus his mother and family are outside wanting to speak with him. Jesus responds that his family are those who do the Will of the Father. It is not the DNA or the Blood of parents and siblings or nuclear family that makes this family of Jesus. It is relationship springing from the Word taught and sharing as community, community bound together in love stronger than blood. So, from the very beginning of this prayer that Jesus sets up a shocking change in relationships that changes the definition of family in the Kingdom of God. This family relationship has God as its Father. It is an expanded family that includes all who wish to follow in the way of Jesus. It is what we know as the Kingdom of God/Heaven. Our mother, our brothers and sisters are those who belong to the Family brought into being by the Father. And it is "our" father – not my father. At the very start of this prayer given by Jesus, the natural basis for relationships to others is expanded – so everyone is our neighbor – well no! Not neighbor, not merely someone who lives next to us. This is a much more intense relationship than possible through geography. This new relationship is the depth and intensity of family. Family supports one another, cares about one another. Family seeks members in need and lifts them up as a brother to a brother, a sister to a sister, as a mother to her children. This is family formed by the Father and its foundation is faith, its future is hope, and its power of relationship is unconditional love.

So, it makes a great deal of sense that during the Our Father at Mass there is – in times absent pandemics – a natural movement to hold hands. Isn’t that what we do at the Thanksgiving meal in November? Don’t we hold hands as a sign of our being a thankful family? When someone leads a prayer of thankfulness for this gathering of family, this bountiful table, the graciousness and beauty of life itself, are we not joined together as a single family? It is a natural thing – and excepting for the fear of disease transmittal – at Mass could this not be the start of a more intense and realistic understanding of what it means to be a follower of Jesus? To be a member of the family of God – presided over by Our Father?

"Who are in heaven." That is the second phrase of that prayer taught by Jesus. Is this merely to place God the Father in a specified space? Or is there more to this than home base for God? In heaven is contrary to "on earth." God, the Father is above, more than, inclusive of but not limited to earth. God is in heaven. Our Father is not an idol constructed of wood, of clay, or precious metals, or a craved rock. Our God is above man-made images. But even more: Our Father is not an idol that we worship with the devotion or piety. Our worship of the Father is akin to our respect for, and honor given our deserving earthly fathers. Our Father is beyond the idols we make in our minds, that we serve without thinking by devoting giving them our time, energy, intellect, and spirits. Our Father is not an idol we make of money, power, influence, fame. Thus, Our Father who art in heaven is more than our experience of father, of idols.

The next phrase "hallowed be thy name" takes a lot more work to understand. Lohfink goes into the Hebrew Scriptures to explain those words. Ezekiel, Daniel, and Isaiah offer an understanding that is more than respect for the name of God. In Ezekiel (chapters 20 & 36) the name of God has to do with a petition for the gathering and sanctification of the people of God. Perhaps a direct quote helps for understanding:

"But I had concern for my holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the nations to which they came."

Since the people of God took the land of Canaan in the name of God, their profanation of the land by sinful behavior and violation of the covenant, allowed nations to think of the God of Israel as without influence and power among the people who claimed to follow him. Thus, the name of God was not blessed, not hallowed. The name of God became profane, the butt of derision. Certainly not holy.

Again, Lohfink’s words are very much to the point. "So, when we pray "hallowed be your name, we ask God to:

Accept the People of God

Assemble that people from its dispersion (from the multiple exiles – then and even now)

Make it again to be one people

Give it a new heart

And fill it with the Holy Spirit."

This is much more than not misusing God’s name. It calls upon God to indeed bring all people of faith together into one people – ah, maybe better said, into one family with God as Father. As Lohfink summarizes this, "The first petition of the Our Father, which Jesus apparently regarded as the most important and urgent thing for which his disciples ought to pray, has a precise meaning, a clearly defined content: it is about the eschatological gathering and restoration of the people of God. That is how the name of God is to be hallowed."

The other petitions of the Our Father that are directed to God – "thy kingdom come; thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven" are also much more than just the words. Understanding their meaning will change this prayer into more than a mantra. It has the ability to lift hearts, bringing us into the family of God.

What is written here is just a prelude to the whole prayer. To write about the entire Jesus created prayer would be to rewrite Lohfink’s book. Anyone choosing to study the Our Father in this book will need a bible at hand to look up the book’s references. This prayer given by Jesus is the prayer of discipleship. Understanding it more fully makes the words a way into prayer that is relationship. Such understanding will lead us to thinking about the phrases and taking time with its recitation. Anyone wishing a deeper relationship with God and a mature understanding of God’s will, can use the thoughts of this book as a starting point. It creates a more practical, an encouraging energy to living as a disciple, and a sense of freedom that identifies law, ritual, custom, and devotion as starting points to a fulfilling relationship with God.

Dennis Keller






Genesis 18:20-32; Colossians 2:12-14; Luke 11:1-13

At every Eucharist we pray different kinds of prayer. We praise God, we thank God, we say sorry to God for doing wrong, and we ask God for what we need. We pray these kinds of prayer at other times as well - at work, at home, in a car, on a tram, train, or bus – in short, anywhere and everywhere. All these different kinds of prayer say 1. we are very needy people; and 2. we look to the power and love of God to give us what we lack.

When Jesus was on earth, the teachers in the community, the rabbis, would teach their followers some simple prayers. So, we are not surprised when the friends of Jesus ask him to teach them. Luke recalls the beautiful prayer which Jesus taught them, the prayer of about forty words in Luke’s version, that we call the ‘Our Father’ and ‘the Lord’s Prayer’.

Jesus teaches us to ask for what we need, seek for what we want, and knock on the door of the heart of God with unwavering trust. He assures us that we will receive what we request, that we will find what we are looking for, and that God will open the door to us. In other words, God is always willing to give us what we truly need. But for this to happen we have to tell God that we are not self-sufficient, that we need God’s power and goodness to keep giving us the gifts and blessings we lack.

in both the story of Abraham and the story of the man in the gospel, prayer is prayed for the well-being of others. Abraham asks for mercy for the people of Sodom and Gomorrah. The man in the gospel asks for three loaves of bread for his friend. So, we are meant to pray for others in need and not just for ourselves. That’s why we have so many prayers for others at Mass. We go well and truly beyond just saying to God, ‘look at me, look at me, gimme this, gimme that, please God, gimme’. So, we pray with warm, loving and generous hearts for others, both people we know and people we don’t.

Both stories tell us to keep on praying, and never give up. Neither Abraham nor the man in the gospel was put off by not getting what they needed right away. But we don’t keep praying to change God’s mind, but to gradually find out what God is thinking and wanting for our well-being.

The Lord’s Prayer starts by calling God ‘Father’. It does not mean that God is a male person, e.g., an old man with a beard. It suggests that although God is spirit, God is everything and much more that a good human father is. God is simply the best possible father, who gives his children all they truly need. This is not saying that God gives us everything we want. Once when I was celebrating Mass with a Year 2 class, one little boy said that he asks God for lots of toys. I gently asked him: ‘Do you need so many toys, or do you just want lots of toys?’ He had to admit that he wants them more than he needs them. When we speak to God as ‘Father’ we are thinking of someone who is always there for us, someone who loves us and cares about us, someone on our side, indeed someone who listens carefully to every word we say, and wants to give us everything we really and truly need. So, let’s leave all our concerns, worries and troubles with God, trusting that God cares, and that at least in the long run everything will work out for the best.

It’s important to respect the way Jesus has arranged the words of the Our Father. Before we ask a single thing for ourselves, we praise God for God’s greatness and goodness. We ask that reverence and respect be given to God and God’s name. We pray that God’s kingdom (reign and rule) of justice, peace and love, will happen all over the world. We ask that people everywhere will seek to know and do what God wants.

Only after praising God and praying that God will be everywhere known, loved, and served, do we start praying for ourselves, starting with ‘give us this day our daily bread’. Asking God for ‘our daily bread’ covers everything we need in the here and now. Jesus is implying that we don’t need to worry about the unknown future, but to live one day at a time. In his famous poem and hymn Lead, Kindly Light, John Henry Cardinal Newman wrote: ‘I do not ask to see the distant scene – one step enough for me.’

Prayer brings us face to face with the all-pure, all-holy, all-good God. So, we go on to ask God to forgive our sins, but only if we are willing and ready to forgive anyone and everyone who has hurt and harmed us.

The ‘Our Father’ focuses too on our future needs. ‘Lead us not into temptation,’ we ask, and ‘do not put us to the test.’ We are not simply asking God to save us from temptations, inclinations, and inducements to sin, but stay with us in every testing and difficult situation. We are asking God to help us stay loyal and true to God, to ourselves, and our loved ones, in any situation that tests our character, commitment, integrity, and fidelity.

We always begin our immediate preparation for Holy Communion by saying the Our Father together. At our next Eucharist, let’s pray it with maximum awareness, that we are praying for God’s interests first of all, and only then for our own. Can we also remember that every time we pray the Lord’s Prayer, the wording is addressed to ‘OUR Father’, not just ‘MY Father’? So, let’s pray not just for ourselves as individuals but for all the people to whom we belong. Surely, that includes the whole wide world of human beings, simply everyone in need of God’s loving presence, care, protection, and guidance! In our prayer too, let’s expect the unexpected from our ‘God of surprises’, and always pray with trust that God never stops loving us, no matter what, and that God wants only the very best for us, at all times and in every situation!

"Brian Gleeson CP" <>









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