Given on Saturday, July 27 (5pm) and Sunday, July 28 (7 & 8:45am)
Click here for the Scripture Readings.
Preaching about Prayer is a lot like trying to fix 10 pounds of rocks in a 5 pound back. It's often hard to do. So, what I'd like us to do today is just stroll around a little bit and maybe the Lord will speak in our hearts. I'd like to talk about prayer by connecting three different people: Jesus, Woody Allen and The Rolling Stones. Here we go!
There's an image in the Book of Revelation that Jesus uses, speaking through John the Evangelist, to encourage people to come to the waters fo Baptism and become a disciple. The image comes from the third chapter of the Book of Revelation and it's of Jesus standing at a door, knocking. The lines reads: "Behold I stand at the door knocking. Whoever hears my voice and opens the door to me, I will enter and dine with them." The word dine is somewhat of a euphemism: it means that Jesus will have an intimate encounter with the one who opens the doors for Him. This is the first image for our prayer this week: Jesus standing at our door, knocking. He is standing at the door of our hearts, our lives, our relationships, our marriages, our families, our fears, our doubts, our anxieties, our temptations and even our sins. He stands there knocking and waits for us to open to Him. The opening my friends, is prayer. The minute we transcend our selves and reach out time Him, this is prayer. Prayer is transcending the selves and having receiving from Him that which we can not give to ourselves. Jesus IS the answer to our prayers, all our prayers.
But we have to turn to Him every day and seek from Him that which our heart yearns. Woody Allen is quoted as saying, 99% of life is just showing up. That might be true, but not when it comes to prayer. Prayer, according our Catechism of the Catholic Church, is a response to God. In other words, we are responsible for 1% and God the other 99%. If we make ourselves available to God, everyday, to spend a few moments in silent and solitary prayer, if we give Him our 1%, He WILL provide the other 99%. Wherever you are on the prayer spectrum, whether you're a daily pray-er; a good prayer; or you don't pray at all; no is the time to delve into an interior Life with God. Now is the time, Jesus is inviting us to enter into a deep relationship with Him in prayer. So, where do I start? I'd offer one suggestion. If you're just starting out praying, try this: read today's Gospel reading everyday for the next 6 days. Read it once; pick out a word or phrase that stirs in your heart and then just sit with it for about 10 minutes. Turn your mind and heart to God and God-ly things and allow Him to work in your heart for 10 minutes each day. I promise you, those moments will not be wasted.
The last thing I know about prayer is that prayer is less about me telling God what I want, and more about God shaping my heart to desire what He wants to give me. He knows what we need. The question is, do I? So what do we need to be the people God wants us to be? What do we need in our relationships, our marriages, our relationships, our jobs. What do we need to embrace ever more deeply our vocations and our discipleship. What do I need? And are my needs the same things that God wants to give me: the things that a Father wants to give to His children. In other words, to paraphrase the Rolling Stones: you can't always get what you want; no you can't always get what you want; no you can't always get what you want; but if you PRAY sometimes, you just might find, you get what you NEED!! Ahh yeah!