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."
As a Franciscan, I try to be attuned to the central theme St. Francis of Assisi lived out in his life. In countless ways Francis celebrated and preached the Incarnation. Jesus came to reveal in his humanity the awesome reality of who God is for us. In Jesus we see “the human face of God.” Francis delighted in communicating to people a very personal God. I believe that’s what made St. Francis attractive to the people of his time—the very down-to-earth way in which he preached, taught, and especially lived a life that pointed to the closeness of God to us. And the God Francis reflected was a God of love, forgiveness, and mercy.
Today’s first reading, where Abraham bargains with God, as well as our Gospel, where Jesus teaches us to pray, are united in their use of very down-to-earth, human imagery to portray God’s mercy. Abraham and God dicker back and forth over how many good people it will take to save Sodom from destruction. In Jesus’ parable about prayer, God is the friend we bother in the middle of the night, and wear down with our persistent begging for what we need.
God is ready to give us our daily bread and more—forgiveness and the gift of the Holy Spirit—if only we ask. If we think of God as a loving friend, a kind caring parent, one who will enter into our human need and meet us there, then prayer will come a bit easier: It’s what Jesus taught us!
In this week's first reading, what were the places where there was great sin? Why does God go there?
How does Abraham bargain with God?
The second reading has St. Paul talking about how the Colossians were buried with Christ in Baptism but also raised with him. Were you baptized?
What does Baptism do for us?
After Jesus was praying what did one of his disciples ask him to do, according to the Gospel?
How did Jesus respond to that question?
Why does Jesus tell the disciple to pray?
by Susan Hines-Brigger
Gather some friends or fellow parishioners and host a progressive dinner. Each family prepares a part of a meal and the group travels from home to home. At each home, they will knock on the door and be received much like in this week's Gospel.
Before your family dinner each night this week, hold hands and pray the "Our Father" together.