Genesis 18:20-32; Psalm 138:1-2, 2-3, 6-7, 7-8; Colossians 2:12-14; Romans 8:15bc; Luke 11:1-13
Abraham was on such intimate terms with God that God not only spoke with Abraham but listened to Abraham. God even agreed to change the divine mind, if at least ten innocent people dwelled within Sodom and Gomorrah (Sadly, that condition was not met.) But, notice what Abraham did before he began to speak with God. Abraham “drew nearer.” This was not mere geographical space; it was the space of intimacy. Abraham drew near to the heart of God and boldly spoke from his heart, “Should not the judge of all the world act with justice?”
Jesus encourages his disciples to be bold when they speak to God saying, “When you pray say: ‘Father…’” He encourages disciples even now to draw near to the heart of God as a child draws near to a parent, the to both praise and petition God for our most basic needs: food, forgiveness, and freedom from evil. Furthermore, Jesus urges us not to be afraid to “pester God,” to persist in our asking, especially for the greatest of all gifts, the Holy Spirit. We can do this because of the intimacy we have with God because of our baptism in Christ.
God hears and answers all prayers.
Genesis 18:1-10a; Psalm 15:2-3, 3-4, 5 (R/. 1a); Colossians 1:24-28; cf. Luke 8:15; Luke 10:38-42
Do you ever look at maps? You quickly conclude there is no logical explanation for how countries or states are formed. It is all so arbitrary and fluid, truly “man-made.” Boundaries also tend to shift over time, sometimes due to changes in the earth, but more often, once again, to “man-made” situations like war or political agreements. Relational boundaries also tend to shift with time and circumstances, even between God and us. In the story of God visiting Abraham and Sarah, a boundary into deeper intimacy shifts when God promises Abraham that within a year Sarah will have a son. Another boundary is crossed when God speaks to Sarah for the first time. Unfortunately, we do not get to hear it today.
A Jewish home had physical boundaries, “male space” and “female space.” Mary was not in the kitchen where she “belonged.” More than that, she was sitting at the feet of the Jesus, the posture of a disciple, another crossing over into male territory. Jesus made it clear where, and what, Mary could be.
God is so into creation that it has not ended; new realities keep on coming. What boundaries in your life need shifting?
Deuteronomy 30:10-14; Psalm 69:13, 17, 30-31, 33-34, 36, 37 (R/. cf. 33) or Psalm 19:8, 9, 10, 11; Colossians 1:15-20; cf. John 6:63c, 68c; Luke 10:25-37
“Good fences make good neighbors” the expression goes. Today Jesus offers an alternative view. After a man asks him, “Who is my neighbor?” Jesus responds with a parable that offers an answer. The very word “neighbor” means one who lives near. However, Jesus was not limiting the definition of neighbor to physical proximity, though his understanding starts with that; the neighbor in the parable is the Samaritan who draws near, not crossing to the other side of the road as the priest and Levite did. But as the parable goes on, a listener realizes that being a neighbor is more than that. To be a neighbor is to reach out to help anyone in need, setting aside any barriers that wither society or selfishness might set up. To be a neighbor is to open one’s heart to another, recognizing in the other the image of the God who created them. To be a neighbor is to treat another with mercy. Only the Samaritan was truly a neighbor. He came close to the victim and stayed. He did not just visit; he committed.
How are you as a neighbor? Who needs you as a neighbor?
Isaiah 66:10-14c; Psalm 66:1-3, 4-5, 6-7, 16, 20; Galatians 6:14-18; Colossians 3:15a, 16a; Luke 10:1-12, 17-20 or 10:1-9
From the beginning, preaching the kingdom of God was at the top of Jesus’ priority list. He began his ministry preaching that the kingdom was “at hand.” Proclaiming God’s presence in the world was the first task Jesus gave to his twelve apostles when he sent them out. Later on, as Luke records in today’s Gospel, Jesus sent out seventy-two others. After he had risen, he commanded all disciples to do this until the end of time. So, it should be clear that evangelizing, another word for preaching the gospel, was at the top of Jesus’ “to do” list.
Echoing Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI , Pope Francis is calling all of us to take part in a “new evangelization,” described as having “new ardor” for spreading the gospel. Today’s Gospel gives us a picture of what the “old ardor” looked like: going out in twos, traveling light, not dawdling, getting to your destination and bringing peace there, not fussing about the accommodations or the food, then to getting down to business and spreading the good news.
What does having a “new ardor / zeal / passion / fire” mean? Do you have it?