The Seventeenth Sunday of Ordinary Time
[Scripture Readings: Gen 18:20-32; Col 2:12-14; Lk 11:1-13]
There are some who find a reasonable bargain not easy to resist. Especially if there is a fifty or sixty percent discount. One can surely use it as time goes by , and just now make it a possession of the household. There is also another advantage point. Sometime later on you can unload it on some grateful relative or friend. And, last of all, a yard sale is not out of the question. As time goes by its value could even increase somewhat. “Let the buyer beware” is a slogan for others, not for your astute calculation and shrewdness. Foresight with a vengeance can hardly be displaced.
In the first reading today is a graphic description of one who know how to divine and control somewhat a dramatic moment or event that affected the lives of many others. It seems astonishing that an eighty percent discount would ever be tolerated because of the gravity of the situation. Justice has its demands and its requirement and at times bears with it a corresponding retribution. Free wheeling down the highway of life was never meant to be.
In the Gospel reading, Jesus points out to us what is known as the prayer of petition. Of the four ends of prayer — adoration, thanksgiving, satisfaction and petition—petition comes in last, but it is a valid form of prayer. To know that we stand in need of so much for our eternal salvation, it is not unbecoming that we make known our petitions to God. We become conscious of his presence and his desire to help us.
The question might be asked if there is need to make any bargain to be heard. There is a passage in the Book of Psalms that asks, “What shall I give the Lord for all He has given me? I shall take the cup of salvation and calling upon the Lord I will be saved from my enemies.” We have the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and the Sacramental system of the Catholic Church. The means to an end are stretched before us. To make this a priority in our lives puts us in touch with the communion of saints who used this very means to arrive where they are now. The prayer of petition has no need of a bargaining table. The discount department has closed its doors.