Central Idea: Bearing hardship well is a mark of holiness. Doctrine: The prayer of petition. Practical Application: Asking for things.
For the Lectionary 102 readings, click here.
Is 66:10-14c; Ps 66:1-3, 4-5, 6-7, 16, 20; 2 Gal 6:14-18; Lk 10:1-12, 17-20
Central Idea: Bearing hardship well is a mark of holiness
- Jesus Christ’s second beatitude in the Sermon on the Mount is “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted” (Mt 5:4).
- Jerusalem mourned and was promised comfort.
- Many times God allowed Jerusalem to be destroyed and her inhabitants to suffer greatly.
- Yet the prophets promised that Jerusalem would be the religious capital of the world and the Gentiles would bring their wealth to her in homage.
- Isaiah prophesied that Jerusalem would someday be like a mother who nurses, fondles, and comforts her babies on her lap.
- Whenever God answers our prayers we should rejoice and be thankful. We should even recall all the other works God does in creating and sustaining creation and in his saving acts for the children of Adam.
- One important reason to pray regularly is not just to ask for things but to be aware that God answers our prayers. How foolish it would be to pray for something, for it to come to pass, and then to take the new condition for granted.
- All Jewish men bear on their bodies the sign of the covenant with Abraham, the mark of circumcision. Jesus Christ bears on his glorified body his five wounds, the sign of the New Covenant received during to his Passion and Death.
- St. Paul bears the marks of Jesus on his body through all the physical suffering and injury he endured to spread the Gospel.
- St. Paul asks that “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.” The grace of Christ pours into our lives and we begin to bear in our bodies the marks of Jesus. People will not necessarily see cuts and bruised. They will see peace and acts of mercy.
- This Gospel passage recounts something which both advanced the evangelization of Israel and also formed a lot of Jesus’ disciples. He sent two-man teams of disciples to every town and village he intended to visit to prepare the people there for him, similar to the way John the Baptist prepared Israel in general for Christ.
- Some of what Jesus said pertains only to that mission; some is universal for Christians.
- One universal is the command to pray for missionary vocations:
“The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest.
- Today, we are to pray for traditional evangelists to fan out to the farthest corners of the world and for “new evangelists” to preach the Gospel anew in our own culture. These new evangelists are us!
- Unlike the seventy-two, whom Christ instructed to reject those who rejected them, we don’t reject or give up on anyone.
- Like them, our pastors deserve our material and spiritual support and they, in turn, owe us their total dedication.
- We should see our pastors performing miracles, at the very least the miracle of holiness. They must confront evil in themselves and around them and overcome it.
Doctrine: The prayer of petition
- Prayer of petition is asking God for the things we and others need. Petition is one of the acts of the virtue of religion and religion is part of the virtue of justice.
- Religion is binding ourselves to God. Asking God for good things is one way we attach ourselves to him. When we do this we are giving God what we owe him, because we are acknowledging, as the Catechism puts it, that “We are creatures who are not our own beginning, not the masters of adversity, not our own last end. We are sinners who as Christians know that we have turned away from our Father. Our petition is already a turning back to him.” (2629)
- The Catechism also points out how petitionary prayer is hopeful prayer. It is a prayer of expectation of our full redemption and the fulfillment of the redemption of the world (2630). We know this is not the only life and the only venue for whatever happiness we can experience.
- The first step in petitionary prayer is asking for forgiveness of our sins; this brings us back into communion with God (2631). Being in a right relationship with God is really the answer to all our prayers.
- Most of “Christian petition is centered on the desire and search for the Kingdom to come, in keeping with the teaching of Christ . . . first for the Kingdom, then for what is necessary to welcome it and cooperate with its coming” (2632).
- Last comes every need. “When we share in God’s saving love, we understand that every need can become the object of petition” (2633).
Practical Application: Asking for things
- While is it is good to pray for every need and want one has, it is probably good to begin with the needs of others, if only to fight self-centeredness. One model of petitionary prayer is found in the Mass. the Church proposes the following rule for the series of intentions which make up the Prayers of the Faithful:
a. For the needs of the Church;
b. For public authorities and the salvation of the whole world;
c. For those burdened by any kind of difficulty;
d. For the local community. (GIRM 70)
- If you follow an order like this, the “local community” would include your family, friends, and yourself.
- It is very important to pray for the needs of those around you. It is a real exercise of charity.
- How often should you do petitionary prayer? Our Lord said to pray always. Whenever you become aware of a need is a good time to pray for it.
- Petition can also be performed at set times.
- The morning offering is a good time to anticipate the needs of those you will encounter this day.
- At the Offertory at Mass you can “place” your petitions on the paten and in the chalice along with the bread and wine which will be transformed into the Body and Blood of Our Lord.
- While praying the Rosary, you can set aside each decade for a particular intention.
- At the examination of conscience at night, you can pray for anyone you have harmed and for those needs you have become aware of during the day.