Saint Thomas of Canterbury, Bolton

Stay with us, Lord, on our journey

Cycle C

Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

 

 

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 Luke 11:1-13

“Say this when you pray”

The disciples, seeing Jesus at prayer, asked him to help them to be able to pray as he prays. The instruction he gave to them has been handed on to us so that we, today’s disciples of Jesus, may also pray as he prays. As his adopted brothers and sisters through baptism, he invites us to share his own deeply personal relationship with God. We have received the Spirit of adoption and so, with Christ, we are truly sons and daughters of God, able to address God in the same familiar manner of Jesus: “Abba” – “my dear Father”

“Abba – my Father” – it’s an intimate expression of personal relationship. Sometimes the Christian life is described too exclusively in terms of the performance of certain prescribed liturgical acts, plus avoidance of sin, carrying out good works, and so on. We need today's reminder that our Christian life is above all else a personal relationship with God. We are invited to cultivate that relationship, first granted in baptism, throughout the rest of life. Spiritual progress is not accumulating pious practices. It is living out the implications of a personal and loving relationship with our Father.

Hence the central importance of prayer. When Jesus invites us to address God as “Abba”, he is not just giving us a formula of prayer, simply putting words on our lips. Rather, he is giving us a beautiful expression of belief, a loving profession of faith, that God, the Almighty, the Eternal, the Creator of all that is, allows me to approach him with the total trust and dependency of a beloved child. In our prayer we come to know the Father of Jesus as our Father, and are drawn ever more closely into the wonder and intimacy of his fatherly love.