Thursday, October 11, 2007

Twenty-seventh Thursday in Ordinary Time, Year I

Readings: Mal. 3,13-20b; Ps. 1,1-4.6; Lk 11,5-13

Why try? Why weary ourselves doing what is right, praying everyday, forgiving, even when we don’t feel like it, reaching out to others when they rarely seem to appreciate our assistance and when, despite our best efforts, nothing really seems to change? To summarize what the prophet Malachi is getting at in the beginning of our first reading: Despite all our efforts the wicked seem to prosper and the world remains, in many ways, a mess.

To approach life in this way, especially our life of faith, is to get it all wrong. Indeed, as our Psalm response indicates: "Blessed are they who hope in the Lord" (Ps. 40,5a). Of those who fear Him, God says through Malachi, that He "will have compassion on them" (Mal. 3,17). To fear God does not mean to be scared of God. Rather, it means to acknowledge God as God, to reverence God, and to submit ourselves totally to God, even when it seems difficult and when we are discouraged, or tempted to despair. What Malachi is saying is that being discouraged about the seeming lack of success of our own efforts is a kind of pride, a way of living that does not fear God, that does not let God be God, that does not trust God.

Nonetheless, in today’s Gospel Jesus teaches us to be persistent in prayer to the point of being, what would seem to us, a little annoying. In this our Lord encourages us to continue praying and acting, doing what we know God would have us do- loving God and our neighbor- even when it seems to us make little difference, or to have no effect. What Jesus encourages us to do is what He did, even to the point of death, trust God. We are to trust in the confidence that, as our loving Father, God wants to give us every good gift. Of course, the best gift God the Father gives us is His beloved Son, who we receive in the Eucharist, and so we pray with St. Faustina, "Jesus, I trust in you".

(Homily preached at Holy Family Parish)

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