Try God

(Homily for Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Cycle C: Persistent Prayer)

Bottom line: You have tried everything else. This Sunday Jesus invites you to try God. Ask, seek, knock.

Jesus places a challenge before us. You could sum up the challenge in two words, "try God." Jesus says, "Ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you." Ask, seek, knock. Try God.

Jesus makes a remarkable promise if we try God. He says, "Everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened." He promises that God will always answer our prayers. What does this mean?

Let me give an example to clarify. It is a person example. This week my sink garbage disposal went out. As I watched the water back up with small bits of green floating in it, I said, "Please Lord. I don't need this." I made a quick prayer for God to solve the problem for me. Well, he gave an immediate answer. He said, "call Steve Schilling."

God answers every prayer, but he doesn't directly resolve every problem. He has created the world so that we will rely on one another, as well as directly on him. The sink garbage disposal has a relatively simple solution - not to me, but to someone like Steve.

Other problems involve great complexities - and ultimately we need God's help to solve them. For example, our human relationships. I often find myself asking God to help me with some relationship. We are great mystery to each other.

And who of us can understand the mystery of his own heart? As the Second Vatican Council taught: "every man remains to himself an unsolved puzzle." Besides praying other people and for my relationship to them, I find myself asking God the way to interior peace. Show me your will, Lord - and give me the strength to do it.

Jesus tells to ask, seek and knock. Try God. You have tried everything else. Try God.

This Sunday I invite you to ask God's help with another group of relationships: those who have died, our faithful departed loved ones, especially our immediate ancestors. If you ask a doctor what matters most for good health, he will mention exercise and diet, but I have also heard doctors say, "If you want good health, choose your parents carefully." Something similar holds in the spiritual life. For better or worse, much of our spiritual health depends on our parents, grandparents and great-grandparents, that is, our immediate ancestors. If one's parents and grandparents are alive, a good son or daughter should pray for them. But we can also pray for those who have died. We belong to the Communion of Saints.

Jesus says ask, seek, knock. Prayers can help loved ones - and in the process, do great good for oneself and other members of the family. This Sunday we dedicate the Shrine to Our Lady. I mention two deceased loved ones on the memorial plaque: my brother-in-law, Alex, and Leo Moore's deceased wife, Thelma Ann. Beyond them, I will be placing a scroll in a sealed container at the base of the shrine. During the past weeks, you have filled out envelopes with names of your dear ones. Besides placing them at the feet of our Blessed Mother, our parish youth will take them to Rome and Madrid next August for World Youth Day 2011.

Ask, seek, knock. Try God. He will answer every prayer. We have that promise from Jesus. Try God. He alone has the solution to our troubled human relationships - and to our troubled hearts. He can bring healing across generations - even for those who have gone before us. You have tried everything else. This Sunday Jesus invites you to try God. Ask, seek, knock.

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Spanish Version

from Fr. Barron: Jesus' Kingdom Prayer : 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time (well worth listening to)

From Archives (17th Sunday, Year C):

2013: Call to Faith - Pope Francis
2010: Try God
2007: Why I Believe God Exists
2004: Persistence Pays
2001: Lord, Teach Us To Pray
1998: Prayer of Intercession

Seapadre Homilies: Cycle A, Cycle B, Cycle C

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