For What Shall We Pray?
Greetings on this the Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time
Readings: EZ 33:7-9; PS 95:1-2, 6-7, 8-9; ROM 13:8-10; MT 18:15-20
Note: The air conditioner is broken in the Church. So we have to limit our homilies to be very short as the temperature is very high and dangerous for human health. So my written notes will be short as well.
Ezekiel is sometimes referred to as the Watchman. Twice in the Book of Ezekiel he is referred as the watchman calling out.
The first and second share these basic qualities:
- A watchman scans the horizon for the actions of God.
- He knows what God is about to do (in Ezekiel’s case allow Jerusalem to be captured); and
- He is obligated to stir up the people to respond to the alert.
It isn’t much different from a fire alarm in a building or at home. When that alarm goes off, does it not alert you and stir you to do something? Anything? Don’t you check here and there to see if a fire has started or someone or something is in danger?
Each of us has a responsibility to be watchman. It is an individual responsibility and corporate responsibility.
In Ezekiel’s case he is to alert the wicked. The Wicked are a group of people who do not believe in the presence of God or the consequences of their actions in this life nor in an eternal way. The Wicked see no need to seek right relation with God nor Man. The Wicked need to hear of the love of God.
Pray for the Wicked.
Responsorial Psalm 95
Daily we pray the Invitatory.
Psalm 95 contains the alert to not repeat the error of our fathers where at Meribah and Massah (testing and quarreling with God and one another).
The short version of the story. While journeying from place to place in stages through the desert of Sin they came to a place without water. They were thirsty, really thirsty. They began to complain to Moses and also about God. And they really got to it.
How can you lead us here to die?! In Egypt (the place of slavery and oppression) we at least had water and cucumbers. Now we have nothing. Well, God heard their prayer and provided water from the rock.
Here we have believers who under trial fail to trust God. We pray daily, literally, that we are strengthened to not repeat the weakness of the desert and succumb to our trials.
Pray for the Weak in Faith.
Paul to the Romans
Paul makes clear that we are to have no debt but the debt of Love for one another. Taking the people back to the Torah and the laws of Leviticus 19:18-19.
The law is fulfilled in love. Love your neighbor as yourself. Specifically, now these are believers who desire to follow God more deeply than those at Meribah and through the law. Paul describes the law in terms of love. He lists the most potent of the four major ‘do not’ laws (within the 10 commandments) as it pertains to one another. Then he specifically says to those who follow the law are not to do two things that are contrary to the law of love:
- Do not take revenge.
- Do not cherish and nurture a grudge.
Pray for those who hold onto their pain.
So when we arrive at the gospel message of Jesus we can see he proscribes an order of normalized confrontation. How to orderly navigate disagreements and mutual mistrust and personal harm.
Then he says, PRAY.
- Pray to become a watchman.
- Pray for those who have no faith in God.
- Pray for those who fail under duress.
- Pray for those who nurture revenge and hold grudges.
Pray and Partake
Pray in community for all of us who fail and fall and don’t always live the life meant for us, in unity with God and man. Pray and be my people.
Pray and receive the Eucharistic gift of Christ.
Be a praying people for all who hurt.
Peace be with you,