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17th Sunday in Ordinary Time - July 24, 2016

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By Deacon Jeff Mevissen


The Gospel today sounds like really good news because Jesus says, “Ask and you will receive.”  OK, I ask for a million dollars – in cash, please.  The problem with this prayer is that it fails to recognize the context in which Jesus says, “Ask and you will receive.”  Before this statement, Jesus teaches his disciples to pray, “Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done.”  Would my receiving a million dollars glorify the name of the Lord?  Would it accomplish God's will, or realize the reign of the Lord?  Jesus concludes his teaching promising that the Father will not refuse the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.  Will my receiving a million dollars bring the gifts of the Spirit, wisdom, understanding, right judgment, courage,  knowledge, reverence, or awe and wonder of God?


Here is another prayer, “I prayed for my mother to get better but she died.”  A better prayer may have been, “May the will of God be done in my Mom's life.”  The only path to resurrection is the way of the cross.  God's ways are above our ways and God's thoughts above our thoughts – let us pray for the gift of Understanding that we may see relationships and events as God sees them.

Another prayer: “I prayed for my children and grandchildren to return to the church but they are not budging.”  This is an excellent prayer – keep praying it.  This prayer bumps into the free will of our offspring which even God honors and will not violate.  Mother Teresa said, “God does not call us to be successful but to be faithful.”  When we persist in this prayer, however, our prayer becomes a bond between our loved ones and the church.    We believe in the Communion of Saints which includes the living and those in glory because love is stronger than death.  Likewise we extend the church to those we pray for because love binds us together.


I remember when my Mom became anxious, my Dad would just hold her.  He wrapped his strong arms around her and became her security without a word.  That is how I see Eucharistic adoration.  Sometimes it is best to leave our petitions behind and simply let God envelop us in intimacy and peace.  If you say you have no time for such a visit with the Lord then that is truly a shame.


Susan and I watched the movie “War Room” produced by Affirm Films.  A couple is having marital problems when the mentor of the wife makes her realize that she should do battle with the devil, not her husband.  She said the devil likes nothing more than to drive a wedge between us as loved ones.

The walk-in closet of the wife becomes her “war room” where she wages a spiritual battle using Scripture and prayer intentions.  Eventually the fruits of the Spirit flow into the home of the couple, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faith, mildness, and chastity.  The Father will not refuse the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.