Welcome back to our teens and adult leaders from the annual mission trip. We are thankful that you had a safe trip and trust it was a moving, spiritual experience for you. We accompanied you in prayer.
Our sister parish has received our contribution for building materials to be used to construct catechetical centers. I also told them that we will remember their martyrs in solidarity with them this weekend. In September a deacon from the parish will be visiting with us; please be ready to welcome him. Finally, one of their ministries is a radio station. I invite you to click on the webpage radioscatolicasdequiche.org to view the pictures and listen to the music (and read, if you know Spanish!!!!).
Last week our readings presented to us the importance of hospitality, welcoming the stranger among us, if we are to walk with Jesus on his way to Jerusalem. Our first reading this week presents the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. People wrongly believe that their sin was homosexuality (thus the modern use of the word sodomy) but it was actually a sin against hospitality: instead of welcoming the strangers and offering them hospitality, they attacked them and took advantage of them. THAT was the great sin. So the importance of hospitality is emphasized again.
Then the reading moves on to Abraham’s plea for the cities and how God is willing to listen to his prayer. This is our next focus as we journey with Jesus to Jerusalem. Abraham’s bargaining with God is almost comical: he starts with asking God to spare the cities if he can find 50 innocent people and whittles God down to 10. God patiently listens to Abraham’s pleas. The Gospel picks up this focus: after instructing his disciples to pray the Our Father, Jesus adds “ask and you will receive, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened for you.” He punctuates his instruction on praying by pointing out that if we who are not perfect give good things to our children, how much more will His Father in heaven give THE HOLY SPIRIT to those who ask him. Notice it doesn’t say we will get everything exactly as we ask for it (we are not talking about magic or manipulating God), but that we will be given the Holy Spirit, that is, all the help we need for whatever it is that confronts us.
I invite each of us this week to reflect on our relationship with the Lord: is it a relationship of trust, that is, do I trust that the Lord hears and answers me, even if I don’t get exactly what I asked for? Do I trust that my loving Father has his arms around me? Do I take quiet time to be with the Lord (and listen, as did Mary in last week’s Gospel) and build up my trust in his merciful presence?
-- Paul James Portland, SDS