Fr. Tommy Lee says, “When I was in Florida recently I visited the Kennedy Space Center. I saw Cape Canaveral and the launch site for the space shuttle. In the Space Center I was able to look at and touch a moon rock. Through the miracle of modern science and space travel, I reached out and touched the moon! When we pray we leave this world and touch God.”
Theme for this weekend is prayer. In the first reading, we see Abraham’s intimacy with God. He pleads for the people of Sodom and Gomorrah by talking directly to God and asking God to change his plans. He doesn’t just ask, he is persistent in asking, pushing for more and more mercy each time. It may look like a comical dialogue. Like a little child who keeps asking and asking until they get what he/she wants. On the other hand, God is gentle and merciful.
We see in the Gospel Jesus himself goes to pray: intimacy with his Father. The disciples say, "Lord, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples." Jesus taught them to pray by using the intimate word “Abba” “Father” to address God. Our Father is a Father who listens to us. He is merciful. Psalmist say that God is true, he has a long memory for His own promises and a short memory for failure to keep ours. We have to trust in his love and mercy.
This prayer we all pray every day. This prayer begins with God, calling Abba, Father; a deep relationship between God and me. Then God’s purpose in my life, “Thy kingdom come and thy will be done.” Then it goes to our needs: “Give us each day our daily bread.” Then we say, “Forgive us our sins for we ourselves forgive everyone in debt to us.”
Then we pray “Lead us not into temptation.” Pope Francis has officially approved a change to the translation of the Lord's Prayer to replace "lead us not into temptation" with "do not let us fall into temptation," which many scholars say is a better translation of the original text. The Pope said he thought the current English translation was not correct because it implies that God leads people into temptation, an action that is against his nature as a good and holy God. "A father doesn't do that, a father helps you to get up immediately," Francis said of the line in question. "It's Satan who leads us into temptation, that's his department."
In the Gospel, Jesus goes on after the prayer, further explaining the intimacy which God longs from us. He tells the story about a man who wants to be hospitable and is asking his neighbor to lend him some food to give his guests. When he doesn’t get the response he wants from his neighbor, he asks again, and again and again…persistence in asking made the neighbor to get up and give what he wants. Then Jesus praises the man for his persistence in asking.
At the end of the story, Jesus reminds us that God is there for us beyond our understanding. Every time we pray we touch God. Every time we come together to celebrate the Eucharist, heaven meets earth, God comes to us and becomes part of our life. Prayer changes us and others to be ready to receive the grace of God.
Prayer can change the course of history. So let us pray, pray, pray. “Ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” (Luke 11:9-10)