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  Word To Life

Sunday Scripture Readings, July 28, 2013

By Jean Denton
Catholic News Service

July 28, Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Cycle C. Readings:

1) Genesis 18:20-32

Psalm 138:1-3, 6-8

2) Colossians 2:12-14

Gospel: Luke 11:1-13

Jesus poses a rhetorical question in this week's Gospel: What loving father would hand his child a snake if she asked for a fish, or a scorpion if he asks for an egg?

I have a feeling that the Master may also be suggesting his disciples consider the converse as well: What child, when his loving father offers him an egg, would reject it because he'd rather have a scorpion?

Both aspects of the question are part of Jesus' fundamental lesson about our relationship with God, the eternal, spiritual nature of God's providence and our approach to God in prayer.

In the past, as a young woman, I admit I prayed for some "scorpions," such as a particular job offer or the attention of an interesting young man -- desires, I realize in retrospect, that would've led to a dead end.

Despite my shallow, selfish efforts, God ignored such requests and insisted on providing me with an "egg" -- spiritual food.

For instance, instead of what I imagined would be a cool life as a celebrated hotshot sportswriter, I was surprised by what unfolded: marriage, the care and feeding of three children, becoming involved in Catholic community life and writing part time for a diocesan newspaper. Not exactly Sports Illustrated, but experiences of rich, lasting value that led me to God.


Jesus' instruction on prayer in Luke's Gospel explains the incredible offers the Father has for us: a place in his eternal life of selfless love, the strength we need to grow and thrive in that life, mercy when we fail and the freedom that comes with forgiving others. In short, God offers us his Spirit.

Furthermore, Jesus promises that if it is spiritual food you seek, you'll find it. If you knock on the door of faith, it will be opened to you. Ask for life with Christ, and you will receive it.

Disappointingly, I still catch myself trying to figure out how to "pray" for shallow, potentially hazardous desires. But now I understand why certain doors won't open.

God offers us nothing less than his full self with Christ and the Holy Spirit. Why ask for something that may lead us away from his saving embrace?


What do you seek in prayer? How do your desires for your life compare with God's desires for your life?


"You have made great above all things your name and your promise. When I called you answered me." -- Psalm 138:2-3


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