(17th Ordinary Sunday: Genesis 18:20-32; Colossians 2:12-14; Luke 11:1-13)
“If I want my Son not to abandon you, I am obliged to plead with him constantly,” Mary said at La Salette. “However much you pray, however much you do, you will never be able to recompense the pains I have taken for you.”
Abraham’s pleading on behalf of innocent persons who might die in the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah is persistent, to say the least. His prayer is bold: “Far be it from you to do such a thing... See how I am presuming to speak.”
When Jesus taught his disciples to pray, he first outlined briefly the kinds of things we should pray for. Then, with the parable about an importunate friend, he stressed the need to persevere in prayer, to pray boldly. Finally he inspired confidence: “Ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”
St. Paul speaks of a bond against us. In this context, a bond is a legal obligation which, if not honored, entails the forfeiture of money or something else of value, even one’s life. Through the death and resurrection of Jesus, God obliterated that bond and forgave all our sins.
This does not mean that Christians no longer have any obligations. They have the duty be faithful to the God who sent his Son to save us, they need to learn his will and to do their best to carry it out.
But, unfortunately, that has not always been the case. What the Beautiful Lady of La Salette saw among her people was the lack of respect for her Son and, more generally, for the things of God. It is not surprising that she spoke specifically about prayer—hers, and ours.
Speaking to two ignorant children, she kept it simple: an Our Father, a Hail Mary, more when you can. But our prayer really ought to be more like hers. We need to be aware of what is happening in and around us, and constantly bring our concerns and feelings to the Lord, like the Psalmist who, today, offers a prayer of thanksgiving, but sometimes cries out in despair, or complains, or asks for forgiveness, etc., etc., etc.
Our Lady of La Salette, Reconciler of Sinners, pray without ceasing for us who have recourse to you!