Withdraw Ourselves And Pray!

Weekly Missionary Reflection
17th Sunday in Ordinary Time, 24 July 2022

Gen. 18:20-32; Ps. 138:1-2a,2bc-3,6-7ab,7c-8; Col. 2:12-14; Luk. 11:1-13

Luke’s version of “Our Father” prayer teaches us a lot of things. First, Jesus’ teaching on praying was given when He Himself was praying. Indeed, Luke always related prayer to key moments of Jesus’s life: He prayed during His baptism, transfiguration, before choosing the Twelve, before Peter’s confession, and on the cross. Jesus teaches you and me that prayer is not mainly for the sake of fulfilling the list of our needs, but for receiving guidance and protection from God in the journey and struggle of our daily and real life.

Second, prayer is an expression of being united with God. Prayer is not a formula or a duty, not even memorization, yet it is a relationship. Jesus’ prayer begins with an intimate greeting “Father”. The relationship with God is close and direct, like a child with his parents. There is confidence in God’s protection and love. Jesus, Himself becomes an example: He withdrew Himself from the crowd to be with His Father alone (5:16). Sometimes Jesus spent the night in prayer (6:12). Prayer becomes “His custom” (22:39). Thus, prayer is not an extra activity, but an essential part in our faithful life. Unfortunately, I often stick to formulas, instead of relationships. I do more devotions, instead of a deeper relationships. Prayer degrades to a chain of beautiful and evocative words, and it is often regarded as the password to get into an ATM of grace and blessing.

Third, a good relationship means respecting God as He is, as “the Holy One”. Holy means special, different and distinguished. I respect Him as the “Wholly Other”,  whom I can not fool and force, nor I can face as a scary and threatening tyrant. His name is glorified means He is respected and not be harassed. In OT, the prophets criticized the Israelites, since their attitude had caused the Lord to be bullied and disrespected by other nations. Good manner and attitude is a way to make the Lord’s name be respected. We also keep on praying for God’s restoring and glorifying His name so that all mankind admit and respect Him. That is how the time of God’s Kingdom manifested in the world. God’s Kingdom has come and experienced by humans through the work of Jesus and should it be continued to be present in the work of His disciples till today.

Fourth, Jesus always relates prayer to the need and struggles of real life. There are two most basic needs: food and forgiveness. That is the physical and spiritual provision in living this life. Jesus, Himself presents this in His mission: He gave food and offered forgiveness, abundantly and free. That is what we are praying constantly: enough food, not abundance; forgiveness from the Father, as well as learning to forgive others.

Fifth, prayer also opens our wounds and fragility. Prayer makes you and I aware that we are not heroes who always win. We live in a challenging and unfriendly world. The danger of losing loyalty, guidance, and faith is real. Therefore, we ask the Father not to give us heavy temptation, so that we do not lose faith and become apostate.

(Hortensius Mandaru – Indonesia Bible Society)

DAILY DEDICATED PRAYER

Lord, our Father, I present my today prayer, thought, word, work, joy, and sorrow in the unity with Your Son, Jesus Christ, who always presents Himself in the Eucharist for the salvation of the world. May the Holy Spirit animating Jesus, also be my guidance and strength today so that I am ready to be the witness of Your love.

Together with St. Mary, Mother of Jesus, and the Church, in particular, I present my prayer for our Pope and apostle prayer of Indonesian Church this month:

For Universal Churches: Respecting the legacy of the elderly
We pray for the elderly; unto them, we can revive the living root and valuable legacy; may their experience and wisdom be able to assist the youth to face their future with full hope and responsibility.

For Indonesian Churches’ intention: For the anxiety of the youth
May the Church pay special attention to the youth who are depressed, anxious, losing hope and direction for their future due to the impact of this pandemic.

Amen

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