Wednesday, July 24, 2019

LOL with Scripture (Bible Study Recap)

Saint Sharbel Maklof

Flashback to about 2,000 + years ago…

[insert dreamlike harp music here]

Kid: "Daddy! I'm HUNGRY! Please fix me an egg!"
Dad: (eyes on his scroll)…"What's that son?"
Kid: "I wanna EGG! I wanna EGG!"
Dad: (absently reaching into his robe) "Here ya go, son."
Kid: "EWWW…this ain't no egg! It's a SCORPION!"
Dad: (hunting for the sports page) "Uh-huh, ask your mother to fix it for you…"

SHEESH! If anybody doesn't crack up at this Sunday's First and Second Readings, there's a humor deficit here!

'Course the whole theme is prayer…but a beautifully put, laced with humor, sort of lesson.

"Take Abraham…PLEASE!" :-)

A rabbi once told me that Genesis 18:20-32 was the first official recording of chutzpah  ever. Reading it, reflecting on it, putting ourselves in the center of this marvelous conversation, we weren't convinced that Rabbi Ben was right…funny though it was, and is.

The thing is, Abraham, as Catherine wisely pointed out, trusted God. And, if you haven't done it yet, try to put yourself in the scene of this conversation…yes, life and death was at stake, but how beautiful it must have been to amble along with God, making, or trying to make, a deal. As Pat remarked: "God was pleased with Abraham's concern."

Prayer shouldn't, perhaps, always be "fun." But it should always be filled with love, and comfort, and yes, often, humorous. It is, or should be, an intimate encounter with Abba…our Dad…Our Father.

A wonderful session, all around. If you want some good stuff on this Sunday's Readings, shoot me an email and I'll send you a PDF of Dr. Brant Pitre's commentary.

And good news!

Russell's a GRANDPA! Little Russell Nelson was born to his daughter Maria last week!

Pray for us…we pray for you all the time.

Your humble scribe,


The Catechism on “Unanswered” Prayer

“In the first place, we ought to be astonished by this fact: when we praise God or give him thanks for his benefits in general, we are not particularly concerned whether or not our prayer is acceptable to him. On the other hand, we demand to see the results of our petitions. What is the image of God that motivates our prayer: an instrument to be used? or the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ? Are we asking God for `what is good for us'? Our Father knows what we need before we ask him, but he awaits our petition because the dignity of his children lies in their freedom. We must pray, then, with his Spirit of freedom, to be able truly to know what he wants. (CCC 2735-36)

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Points to Ponder, by Doctor Scott Hahn

Asked and Answered

Though we be “but dust and ashes,” we can presume to draw near and speak boldly to our Lord, as Abraham dares in this week’s First Reading. 
But even Abraham - the friend of God (see Isaiah 41:8), our father in the faith (see Romans 4:12) - did not know the intimacy that we know as children of Abraham, heirs of the blessings promised to his descendants (see Galatians 3:7,29).

The mystery of prayer, as Jesus reveals to His disciples in this week’s Gospel, is the living relationship of beloved sons and daughters with their heavenly Father. Our prayer is pure gift, made possible by the “good gift” of the Father - the Holy Spirit of His Son. It is the fruit of the New Covenant by which we are made children of God in Christ Jesus (see Galatians 4:6-7; Romans 8:15-16).

Through the Spirit given to us in Baptism, we can cry to Him as our Father - knowing that when we call He will answer.

Jesus teaches His disciples to persist in their prayer, as Abraham persisted in begging God’s mercy for the innocent of Sodom and Gomorrah.

For the sake of the one just Man, Jesus, God spared the city of man from destruction (see Jeremiah 5:1; Isaiah 53), “obliterating the bond against us,” as Paul says in this week’s Epistle.

On the Cross, Jesus bore the guilt of us all, canceled the debt we owed to God, the death we deserved to die for our transgressions. We pray as ones who have been spared, visited in our affliction, saved from our enemies.

We pray always a prayer of thanksgiving, which is the literal meaning of Eucharist. We have realized the promise of this week’s Psalm: We worship in His holy temple, in the presence of angels, hallowing His name.

In confidence we ask, knowing that we will receive, that He will bring to completion what He has done for us - raising us from the dead, bringing us to everlasting life along with Him.