RCL Year C, Proper 12
Genesis 18:20-32, Psalm 138, Colossians 2:6-15, Saint Luke 11:1-13
Today’s reflection roots almost totally on the side of things invisible, things unearthly, and, perhaps, things spiritual. For those words come close to describing Mary’s interests not Martha’s. For today’s Gospel concerns prayer not preparing or serving food.
We have today Saint Luke’s account of Jesus giving in to his disciples’ request that he teach them how to pray, just as John the Baptist taught his disciples how to pray. And Jesus’ answer is the Lord’s Prayer.
But Jesus goes on to give some visible and earthly examples of prayer. He moves from Mary’s spiritual realm to Martha’s domestic realm. He tells of a friend who asks for three loaves of bread. And he tells of a parent whose child asks for a fish or for an egg. Will any parent give a snake instead of a fish? Or will a parent give a scorpion instead of an egg?
Certainly not. Jesus teaches us a lot in these examples. He teaches us that our heavenly Father answers prayer, and those answers agree with his kingdom. Those answers agree with what we truly need. Those answers agree with the Holy Spirit.
And in our prayers we are to be persistent. We are to ask and to ask again. Remember Abraham’s persistence? He asks the Lord if he will indeed destroy the cities if fifty righteous are there. Certainly not. Will he destroy the cities if forty-five, forty, thirty, twenty, and, finally, if ten righteous are there? Certainly not.
Our prayers are to be persistent. You could well say that our prayers are to be like negotiations. I think the Lord is pleased to give us what we persistently request especially when what we persistently request agrees with the Holy Spirit.