Posted by: fvbcdm | August 18, 2016

Feast of Saint Helen (18 August 2016)

In the Book of Genesis, we find Abraham haggling with God, just as a good Jew would be expected to do. God is angry with the sinfulness of Sodom, and he intends to destroy the entire city. Abraham wants to calm God’s anger and to save the city from annihilation. So he appeals to God’s justice and mercy, and asks if the city can be spared if he can find fifty innocent people there. Yes. Well then, even though I am only dust and ashes, I presume to ask again: what about forty five? Yes. Well, then, don’t grow impatient, but what about forty? And then, by continuing to push his luck, as we might say, Abraham gets God down to just TEN.

In the gospel reading, Our Lord encourages us to pray with perseverance. He tells the story of the man who has unexpected guests who arrive at his home at night, when all the stores are closed. He needs bread for them. So he goes to his neighbor’s door and knocks. “Who’s there? What do you want?” The one outside explains his need. The one inside says NO. He and his wife and the children are in bed. In those small Palestinian houses, people slept on mats on the floor, usually in the one single room of the house. In order to get bread for the man at the door, the one inside would have to get up, awaken his wife and children, make them get up, roll up their mats, open the cupboard, get the bread, give it to the man outside, unroll the mats, get his family bedded down again, and then hope to get them all settled before one of the kids wants a drink of water or has to go to the bathroom.

But the man outside won’t stop knocking, and obviously intends to stay there until he gets the bread he needs. So finally the fellow inside goes to all the trouble mentioned above, because the one outside won’t take NO for an answer. Our Lord tells us to pray like that—with perseverance. Think about what Our Lord is recommending to us, and how we can put it into practice in our lives. Thank you for seeking God’s truth, God bless you. Father Victor Brown, O.P.

Note:  This message was composed some years ago.


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