Reflection: Seventeenth Sunday of Ordinary Time

Chinese Mass:Every Sunday 2:15 p.m.

Our Lady of the Assumption RC Church, Assumption Priory, Victoria Park Square, Bethnal Green E2 9PB (map)

After Mass you are welcome to join the community for a tea gathering

Bible study/sharing every Saturday (2:00-4:00 p.m.) at Notre Dame De France Church, 5 Leicester Place WC2H 7BX (near See Woo Chinese Supermarket, Leicester Square tube station)

Talk and discussion meeting First Tuesday of every month (4:00-6:00 p.m.) at Notre Dame De France Church


[1st Reading – Gen.18:20-32; Ps.137; 2nd Reading – Col.2:12-14; Gospel – Lk.11:1-13]


It seems that there was a tradition that the Rabbi teach their disciples to pray. We see this when one of Jesus’ disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray as John the Baptist taught his disciples to pray.

The “Our Father” is a prayer that we commonly use, often said at the start and at end of meetings. The prayer that we say is only a part of a whole teaching that Jesus gave to his disciples. As well as the prayer of the “Our Father” Jesus also tells his disciples the story of a man who goes and ask his neighbour for some bread to give to a friend who came to visit him without any announcement. The moral of the story, and Jesus’ conclusion, was that “if the man does not get up and give it him for friendship’s sake, persistence will be enough to make him get up and give his friend all he wants”.

Jesus speaks about persistence. He seems to be saying that persistence is very important in prayer. Persistence does not mean, to repeat in such a way that one annoys the other. It simply means to continue to ask … but at the same time, believe that what is asked for will be given … according to the will of the Father. If one persists, it means that he believes and if he believes, then he will continue to persist.

It is for this reason that Jesus insists that one has to continue to “Ask”, “Search” and “Knock”.  These three actions are the initial action which has to be done by someone else but it is God who will “Answer”, “Help” the person to find and “Open” what is to be opened.  It is the cooperation between Man and God. Man puts himself in the Providence of God who gives according to His will and what the Man needs. At the same time, one has to discover how to “Ask” and understand what is to be asked. One has to “Search” what is searchable and “Knock” at the right door and place. It is not only just about “Asking”, “Searching” and “Knocking” but doing these things with the right disposition. It is God himself who at the end gives what is good to the individual who puts himself in the right disposition to God.

In the same way, although we know the words of the “Our Father”, merely saying the words of the “Our Father” does not mean the same thing as praying the “Our Father”. To pray means, yes, saying the words but also with the right disposition that gives us the possibility to wait for what He, the One who is prayed to, wants to give us. It is our openness to God’s will, who already knows what we need.  But on the other hand like a loving Father, he wants to hear our plea.

“Lord God, you taught us to Pray. Give us the opportunity to be able to put ourselves in the right disposition to accept Your providence and live according to what You want to give us as we persist and believe. Thank you Lord!”


Fr. Jesmond Pawley, OFM Conv.

(Permission to reproduce on this site by Fr. Jesmond, St. Patrick’s RC Church, Waterloo )

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