Homily 17th Sunday of Year C: Fr. Michael Ufok Udoekpo· Genesis 18:20-32
· Psalm 138:1-3,6-7,7-8
· Colossians 2:12-14
· Luke 11:1-13
God’s Mercy; Persistence in Prayer,
Today, and in this Year of Mercy, we celebrate once again God’s Mercy and the need to constantly praise God, worship him, and petition him for our needs, pray for one another: our nations, our churches, families and friends. This need is evidence in today’s Bible Readings.
In the 1st reading (Genesis 18:20-32), we find Abraham, our father in faith, one of Israel’s “earliest prophet”(Gen 20:7) interceding, persistently for the sinful cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. In response to his intercession God shows that he is not only merciful, forgiving, and kind to the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah but also because of lives of a few tens of innocent, prayerful people in these communities. This is true of us. You never know how far your prayers, those rosaries we say, those masses we attend—how far your holiness of life and goodness has contributed in the blessings of God upon our sinful lands and families.As Pope Francis would remind us when he kicked off in this Year of Mercy, Christ Jesus (in our NT time) is the face of the God of Abraham, the Father of Mercy. Christ went to the Cross on our behalf. This is why Saint Paul says in the 2nd reading (Col 2:12-14) that even though we were sinners, through Christ’ passion, and intercessions, we, like the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah have been saved!
It is through Christ that we offer our prayers to God the Father. A persistent, short, sweet prayer of praise, worship, lamentation, and thanksgiving for all that God has done for us: the life he provides, the air, mountains, seas, food, clothing, nations and families. Through this Christ should be our request to God, to always do his will and petition for what we need and lack in life- forgiveness of sins, and blessings upon our land.This is exemplified in the today’s Gospel (Luke 11:1-13) the Lord’s Prayer which we recite at every Mass. We mastered this prayer by heart, when we were preparing for our various sacraments. In this prayer, Christ teaches us how to pray. He reminds us that prayer is a relationship, a communication, a dialogue with God. It requires the intimacy that we find in a child parents relationship. And must be done with the consistency we saw in Abraham, who interceded for the cities Sodom and Gomorrah. This is the meaning of “seek and you will find, knock and he door will be opened.” Do we value prayer? Do we pray? When and how? What and whom do we pray for? These are some of the questions we may ask ourselves as we reflect on today’s scriptures.
We may have had our set-backs (like Job, Habakkuk, Sarah, Hanah, Abraham Lincoln etc.…) disappointments, threats, failures, loss of our loved ones in life, we must not give up in prayers. Never Give Up! Prayer is essential for every Christian. Prayer to our merciful God is essential for family members, friends, and elected officials. Prayer for ourselves, the church, the sick, the deceased, sinners, sick nations like Sodom and Gomorrah and for our friends and children.