28 July – Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Our Father in Heaven
Christ has given us in very truth the power to become the children of God. Compare the timidity and self-abnegation of Abraham’s prayer with the confidence with which Christ teaches us to pray to our Father in heaven.
– The Sunday Missal
The Lord said, ‘How great an outcry there is against Sodom and Gomorrah! How grievous is their sin! I propose to go down and see whether or not they have done all that is alleged in the outcry against them that has come up to me. I am determined to know.’
The men left there and went to Sodom while Abraham remained standing before the Lord. Approaching him he said, ‘Are you really going to destroy the just man with the sinner? Perhaps there are fifty just men in the town. Will you really overwhelm them, will you not spare the place for the fifty just men in it? Do not think of doing such a thing: to kill the just man with the sinner, treating just and sinner alike! Do not think of it! Will the judge of the whole earth not administer justice?’ the Lord replied, ‘If at Sodom I find fifty just men in the town, I will spare the whole place because of them.’
Abraham replied, ‘I am bold indeed to speak like this to my Lord, I who am dust and ashes. But perhaps the fifty just men lack five: will you destroy the whole city for five?’ ‘No,’ he replied ‘I will not destroy it if I find forty-five just men there.’ Again Abraham said to him, ‘Perhaps there will only be forty there.’ ‘I will not do it’ he replied ‘for the sake of the forty.’
Abraham said, ‘I trust my Lord will not be angry, but give me leave to speak: perhaps there will only be thirty there.’ ‘I will not do it’ he replied ‘if I find thirty there.’ He said, ‘I am bold indeed to speak like this, but perhaps there will only be twenty there.’ ‘I will not destroy it’ he replied ‘for the sake of the twenty.’ He said, ‘I trust my Lord will not be angry if I speak once more: perhaps there will only be ten.’ ‘I will not destroy it’ he replied ‘for the sake of the ten.’
You have been buried with Christ, when you were baptised; and by baptism, too, you have been raised up with him through your belief in the power of God who raised him from the dead. You were dead, because you were sinners and had not been circumcised: he has brought you to life with him, he has forgiven us all our sins.
He has overridden the Law, and cancelled every record of the debt that we had to pay; he has done away with it by nailing it to the cross.
Once Jesus was in a certain place praying, and when he had finished one of his disciples said, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.’ He said to them, ‘Say this when you pray:
“Father, may your name be held holy,
your kingdom come;
give us each day our daily bread,
and forgive us our sins,
for we ourselves forgive each one who is in debt to us.
And do not put us to the test.”’
He also said to them, ‘Suppose one of you has a friend and goes to him in the middle of the night to say, “My friend, lend me three loaves, because a friend of mine on his travels has just arrived at my house and I have nothing to offer him”; and the man answers from inside the house, “Do not bother me. The door is bolted now, and my children and I are in bed; I cannot get up to give it you.” I tell you, if the man does not get up and give it him for friendship’s sake, persistence will be enough to make him get up and give his friend all he wants.
‘So I say to you: Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you. For the one who asks always receives; the one who searches always finds; the one who knocks will always have the door opened to him. What father among you would hand his son a stone when he asked for bread? Or hand him a snake instead of a fish? Or hand him a scorpion if he asked for an egg? If you then, who are evil, know how to give your children what is good, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!’
Treating just and sinner alike
We are so often being reminded through teachings to treat all man equal. When I looked at today’s first reading, pondering over the two categories of man in the book of Genesis, I wonder which group of men would I fall under. I, as a sinner, one who gives in to different forms of temptations, chasing the worldly materials, occasionally not having God in the centre of my life and decisions; Or, I am a just man who tries every bit to live true to the commandments, go for Sunday Eucharistic celebrations, doing my best to be nice to my neighbours, one who tries to share my Christian values with others, simply being a good and nice person.
Who will I be? Our God the Father is one who judges, who is not a punishing God, not someone to be feared but the one true God who loves. He is a merciful God who spares an entire city no matter how many sinners there may be, it takes one just man to save an entire city of sinners. It took just one perfect Man, our Lord Jesus Christ to save the entire humanity. We are imperfect, and God knows that. So, how do we strive to perfect that relationship with Christ? I believe it is hard for us to know the merits each and everyone one of us can score with God, we ourselves are so tuned to being rewarded with something good, or in expectation of receiving a positive feedback by trying to achieve being the best.
We have to take that score card mentality out of the way. Having a relationship with God or with anyone in our lives is not about being perfect, it is a lot about giving and asking. It is about being a generous person when all is well, to share the joys and rewards when we received the graces. It is also about putting down our pride and ask when we are needy. In today’s Gospel, Jesus’ encourages us to seek Him and build on the relationship which He had so freely give to us, for us to call on Him whenever we are in need. Many times, we may be high in faith and out belief seems to have grown, but we also have those moments where being disappointed is not an option therefore we are afraid to ask and to being accepting to what God has install for us.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Austin Leong)
Prayer: Father, may your name be held holy, your kingdom come; give us each day our daily bread and forgive us our sins.
Thanksgiving: Thank you O Lord, for being the persistent one, who gets up and give me all I need.