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Homily by Fr. Paul Plante

17th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Year C

July 25, 2004

Scriptural Reference: Luke 11:1-13

     In the context of Jesus’ teaching his disciples, therefore all of us, how to pray, today’s Gospel includes what we refer to as The Lord’s Prayer, words that should become so familiar and dear to us that we might have them on our lips many times a day.

     But Jesus also includes a parable, a story. It points towards perseverance, telling us no doubt that prayer without perseverance may be shallow.

     Jesus also tells us to ask and we will receive, to seek and we will find.

     It all seems so wonderful until our experience can be that of asking and not receiving what we requested. Some people put it in very simple terms: God does not listen to me.

     There may have been a time in our lives when we always wanted our way with our parents, our teachers, our employers and did not always get our way.

     Could it be that sometimes what we ask of God or how we demand from God, prevents us from seeing how God is answering us, but in a way we refuse to accept? Are there requests we should be putting before God but are not? - important changes God wants to help us with but that we are not ready to accept?

     How often do we sincerely pray for the grace to fulfill God’s will no matter what God’s will might be – not asking to do God’s will as long as what we have decided God’s will is in our lives?

     Have we ever asked God for the grace to fully accept ourselves as we are – past sins, shortcomings, flaws and all? Coming to grips with the reality of who we are is very freeing. It may be the greatest sign of maturity in any of us, to be satisfied with oneself, to accept that some dreams will not be achieved, to accept that humbling limitations may be as important in our spiritual growth as our greatest talents.

     Are we able to see how God can bring about new life – spiritual opportunity from the most painful experience, the most humbling failure, even the most shameful sin?

     I hope there is as least one event in your life that you wish had never happened, but after the fact, it has had an important influence in making you a better person. That is God’s real power in our real weakness.

     At times we are so convinced that what we are asking from God is good, that we are unable to see anything else that God is desperately trying to give us.

     When we ask, may we ask for the grace to see what God is offering us. If we cannot grasp the good things God is offering us, we are missing all the graces that could benefit our spiritual growth. Sometimes the door is open and we have our eyes shut tight still ready to break in. Why don’t we just open our eyes?

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