Liturgy of the Sunday

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Seventeenth Sunday of Ordinary Time

First Reading

Genesis 18,20-32

Then Yahweh said, 'The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin is so grave, that I shall go down and see whether or not their actions are at all as the outcry reaching me would suggest. Then I shall know.' While the men left there and went to Sodom, Yahweh remained in Abraham's presence. Abraham stepped forward and said, 'Will you really destroy the upright with the guilty? Suppose there are fifty upright people in the city. Will you really destroy it? Will you not spare the place for the sake of the fifty upright in it? Do not think of doing such a thing: to put the upright to death with the guilty, so that upright and guilty fare alike! Is the judge of the whole world not to act justly?' Yahweh replied, 'If I find fifty upright people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place because of them.' Abraham spoke up and said, 'It is presumptuous of me to speak to the Lord, I who am dust and ashes: Suppose the fifty upright were five short? Would you destroy the whole city because of five?' 'No,' he replied, 'I shall not destroy it if I find forty-five there.' Abraham persisted and said, 'Suppose there are forty to be found there?' 'I shall not do it,' he replied, 'for the sake of the forty.' Abraham said, 'I hope the Lord will not be angry if I go on: Suppose there are only thirty to be found there?' 'I shall not do it,' he replied, 'if I find thirty there.' He said, 'It is presumptuous of me to speak to the Lord: Suppose there are only twenty there?' 'I shall not destroy it,' he replied, 'for the sake of the twenty.' He said, 'I trust my Lord will not be angry if I speak once more: perhaps there will only be ten.' 'I shall not destroy it,' he replied, 'for the sake of the ten.'


Psalm 137


I will praise you, O Lord, with all my heart.

O Lord, you search me and your know me,
you know my resting and my rising,
you discern my purpose from afar.

You mark when I walk or lie down,
all my ways lie open to you.

Before ever a word is on my tongue
you know it, O Lord, through and through.

Behind and before you besiege me,
your hand ever laid upon me.

Too wonderful for me, this knowledge,
too high, beyond my reach.

O where can I go from your spirit,
or where can I flee from your face?

If I climb the heavens, you are there.
If I life in the grave, you are there.

If I take the wings of the dawn
and dwell at the sea's furthest end,

even there your hand would lead me,
your right hand would hold me fast.

If I say :'Let the darkness hide me
and the light around me be night.'

Even darkness is not dark for you
and the night is as clear as the day.

For it was you who created my being,
knit me together in my mother's womb.

I thank you for the wonder of my being,
for the wonders of all your creation.

Already you knew my soul,
my body held no secret from you

when I was being fashioned in secret
and moulded in the depths of the earth.

Your eyes saw all my actions,
they were all of them written in your book;

every one of my days were decreed
before one of them came into being.

To me, how mysterious your thoughts,
the sum of them not to be numbered!

If I count them, they are more than the sand,
to finish, I must be eternal, like you.

O God, that you would slay the wicked!
Men of blood, keep far away from me!

With deceit they rebel against you
and set your designs at naught.

Do I not hate those who hat you,
abhor those who rise against you?

I hate them with a perfect hat
and they are foes to me.

O search me, god, and know my heart.
O test me and know my thoughts

See that I follow not the wrong path
and lead me in the path of life eternal.

Second Reading

Colossians 2,12-14

You have been buried with him by your baptism; by which, too, you have been raised up with him through your belief in the power of God who raised him from the dead. You were dead, because you were sinners and uncircumcised in body: he has brought you to life with him, he has forgiven us every one of our sins. He has wiped out the record of our debt to the Law, which stood against us; he has destroyed it by nailing it to the cross;

Reading of the Gospel

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Yesterday I was buried with Christ,
today I rise with you who are risen.
With you I was crucified;
remember me, Lord, in your kingdom.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Luke 11,1-13

Now it happened that he was in a certain place praying, and when he had finished, one of his disciples said, 'Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.' He said to them, 'When you pray, this is what to say: Father, may your name be held holy, your kingdom come; give us each day our daily bread, and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive each one who is in debt to us. And do not put us to the test.' He also said to them, 'Suppose one of you has a friend and goes to him in the middle of the night to say, "My friend, lend me three loaves, because a friend of mine on his travels has just arrived at my house and I have nothing to offer him;" and the man answers from inside the house, "Do not bother me. The door is bolted now, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot get up to give it to you." I tell you, if the man does not get up and give it to him for friendship's sake, persistence will make him get up and give his friend all he wants. 'So I say to you: Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; everyone who searches finds; everyone who knocks will have the door opened. What father among you, if his son asked for a fish, would hand him a snake? Or if he asked for an egg, hand him a scorpion? If you then, evil as you are, know how to give your children what is good, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!'


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Yesterday I was buried with Christ,
today I rise with you who are risen.
With you I was crucified;
remember me, Lord, in your kingdom.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia


Often the Gospels narrate that Jesus withdrew to solitary places to pray. It was probably a daily habit. And they were important moments for Jesus. Often the disciples saw him and remained admired. Just think of the Transfiguration on Tabor, precisely, while he prayed. Luke reports that in one of these moments, having finished the prayer, one of the disciples asked him: "Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples." Without doubt Jesus' prayer amazed the disciples. This is why the disciples asked: "Teach us to pray;" not in the sense of an ordinary prayer, but of how he prayed: "Teach us how to pray, how you pray," with that confidence and trust in the Father, who left the disciples astonished. And Jesus repeats also to us: "When you pray, you say Father, Abba, dad." We know the shock that this word caused in the Jewish religious environment where it was forbidden to call God by his name. But Jesus, with a spiritual revolution, absolutely unimaginable, urges us to call him "father". It is a word that breaks down every distance between us and God: not only is it not further away, but we recognize him as the father of all and everyone can address him directly without the need for mediators.
In prayer, Jesus makes us rediscover the confidence and immediacy of our relationship with God. Neither the place nor the words count. What counts is the heart, the friendship with God. It was like that also for Abraham. Abraham's dialogue with God when he intercedes to save Sodom, fallen in dissolution and disorder, is exemplary and evocative. Believers have a task in interceding; they are friends of people and friends of God. Prayer can save the world. The Lord listens to it, because he is the philanthropist, the friend of men and women. The insistence of prayer in friendship touches the heart of God.
Jesus emphasizes this with two limit examples, taken from everyday life. The friend who arrives at midnight, and the father who will never give a snake to the son who asks him for a fish. And he concludes: "If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!" It is a way of explaining God's limitless availability in meeting our prayer. Words are not decisive; the heart, trust and therefore insistence and perseverance in prayer count. The ineffectiveness of prayer does not depend on God, but on our little trust in him. Let us ask and we will be given, let us seek and we will find, knock at the heart of God, as did Abraham, and the Lord will turn his gaze on us.