Tìm Kiếm

21 tháng 10, 2013

Homily for the XXIX Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C

“Never Give Up Praying!
(Meditation on Lk 18:1-8)
By Fr. Francis Nguyen, O.P.

Dear Sisters and in Christ!
This Sunday’s Gospel message encourages all of us to be persevering in our prayer, no matter how hard to pray, or how long to wait for God’s answer.
Very often we may commit this, if not a sin, a mistake serious enough to prevent us from praying in a right and efficient way.  Do you know what the mistake is?  Let me tell you this right away: we have reduced prayer into an endless, meaningless and boring chain of repetitions of very selfish, greedy, and dishonest demands for only material, even sinful and evil, interests.
Christian prayer brings us many blessings, much better than we can expect, much greater than we can imagine.  Yes, prayer strengthens our faith.  Prayer sustains our hope.  Prayer teaches us humility.  And, finally, prayer feeds our love with burning fire.
First, prayer strengthens our faith.  We pray because we believe.  We pray to Our God because we know He alone is the Source of all good things.  We pray to Our Lord Jesus Christ because we are sure that He alone has power to save us from sin, from death, and from the Evil One.  We pray to the Holy Spirit because we need His guidance to walk in the right way that leads us to eternal life.
Second, prayer sustains our hope.  We pray for what we do not have.  We only pray in the hope that we will receive what we need.  The more we pray the surer our hope grows.
Thirdly, prayer teaches us humility.  Sometimes people come before the Lord God to pray the way the Pharisee did in the Gospel parable.  That man took the opportunity to praise not the Lord God but himself.  He even criticized his poor neighbor, the tax-collector, accusing the latter of many bad things, in order to make himself a saint.  We, aware of our poverty, imperfections, unworthiness, sinfulness, approach the Lord God of absolute power and holiness and glory and justice and richness.  What, then, would be the most needed blessings which we should ask for in our prayer if they are not divine mercy and forgiveness?  And we do know that only humble prayer and contrite heart deserve such blessings.
Finally, prayer fuels our love with much more burning fire.  Saint Thomas Aquinas, a Dominican theologian and Doctor of the Church, once being in fervent prayer saw the Crucified Lord Jesus Christ appear to him and tell him to ask for whatever gift he wished for his good service of God and of the Church.  This was the prayer of the holy scholar and at the same time the intellectual saint: “I would like, O my Lord, to beg you no gift but you.”   Indeed, we need many items to survive our pilgrimage in this life: houses, cars, food, drink, cloths, schooling, entertainment, medicine…and all these are not free but we have to pay for.  However, we are taught by the Lord God to employ all we can find, all we can earn, all we can save in this life, in order to prepare a home lasting forever, a life happy forever in the Kingdom of God.  We need, for this very important reason, to pray for God’s love.  God’s love means two things:  we ask the Lord God to teach us to love Him, to allow us to love Him, this is number one; number two, we ask Him to please love us, no matter how unworthy we are.  The more persistent we are in prayer, the more blazing our love of God becomes.
In this Holy Mass, dear Sisters and Brothers, we pray hard for first of all the blessing of being persevering in our prayer anytime and anywhere, knowing that the Lord God, Our loving and merciful Father, will soon grant us His children all we need to live up to His Commandments of love and righteousness.
By Fr. Francis Nguyen, O.P.