29th Sunday in Ordinary Time

October 16, 2022

Often, I hear Catholics say: “I am praying very hard for this or that to happen in my life.”

I think that this means that the person is being consumed or preoccupied by something, is seeking relief or a good outcome. 

I think it also means that they are saying prayers, seeking the intercession of some saint or praying some prayer by someone else, purporting to have miraculous success, if repeated over and over again.

What does Jesus mean today when he says to pray always without becoming weary?

When Jesus says to pray always, He is asking us to remember and to be aware that He and His Father love us and will take care of us, and will see to it that the best will happen for us because God knows what the best will be.

Prayer or our living in a relationship with our loving God presupposes our devoted trust and that there is more to our lives than our own personal agenda for our lives.

The heart of prayer is not asking.  The heart of prayer is trusting, trusting God who knows what is best for our lives at every moment.

How important is it that we live the longest, healthiest, most productive and richest life that we can?  How important that we live to see our grandchildren’s children?  How important to accumulate money and investments to grow our portfolios?

Jesus proclaimed the purpose of his life, recorded in several places: “I have come to do your will, O my God.”  

He did not say that I have come to make as much money as I can.  He did not say that I want to live until I am 95 years old.  He did not say I want to be cancer-free.  He did not say that I want to die in my sleep.  He did not say that I want to live in a perfect world.  He did not say that I want the answer I want to all my prayers.

“To pray always without becoming weary” depends upon the quality of trust that I have in God and Jesus.  When we begin to pray for anyone or for a good outcome from a situation I suggest, that we pray: 

“Thank you, God, for my life. Thank you for the blessings of my life.  I am in this particular situation now and I need your help and your wisdom.  Help me to get out of the situation because I made the wrong decision.  Help me to stand on your firm ground.  Help me to trust you!  Maybe, I need to consult you and others before I make important decisions.”

Could we be smarter with God’s help, input and inspiration?  Could we have better conclusions if we consult and seek advice before making a decision?

Part of praying is to be prayerful and thoughtful, gathering all the information that is needed, exploring outcomes, and thinking beyond a quick solution and all its ramifications.

Catholics have also got into a way of thinking, promoted by many spiritual writers, that if we say a certain prayer a certain amount of times, what we ask will be granted.  That borders on spiritual magic.  No prayers can make God or the Blessed Virgin Mary do anything.

Trusting and thanking are the doors that open the favors of God.  Perhaps we need to be more tentative when we pray, when we praise, when we ask.

“You know, O God, what so and so needs today.  So, take care of him.”

We do not need to badger God with 10,000 wordy prayers.  All we need to do is to place a person and a situation in God’s heart and let God do the rest – not 10,000 times a day, just every once in a while.  God wants us to be reasonable.  God hears the first time.

Why are our prayers not answered immediately?  Sometimes they are, but many things God knows that there are many other realities that need to be worked on in our lives, and until they are worked on, the prayer cannot be answered.  God takes a holistic approach to our lives.  Snapping our fingers at God does not unravel what needs to be fixed in our lives.

Interesting is Jesus’ last comment in today’s gospel: “When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”

Perhaps, that is where our prayer begins – getting back to our devoted trust in God to take care of our most important needs.  God will carry us in the ups and downs of our life if we let God do so.  Remember often, that our first prayer is always “thank you,” before we begin to ask.

Remember also, that we do not barter with God: “I’ll do this for you, God, if you do this for me.”  God does not barter.  It is best to remember Jesus’ motto: “Here I am Lord, I come to do your will.

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