Homily Ė 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)

Our readings speak of the power and importance of prayer. Righteous prayer has the power to change lives. God shows he is willing to lay aside the sins of thousands in order to preserve the righteous from destruction. The second reading tells us we are called to live with God and that he will go to any length to eliminate the obstacles from our path so we can. So great was his love for us that he gave his only begotten Son up to a brutal death so we could be restored for him. That is Godís desire or his thirst for us to be with him. The only thing left is for us to choose to what length will we go to be with him. That is our desire or thirst for him. Prayer, as St. Augustine says, is where our two thirsts meet.
I could speak for the next few minutes on different kinds of prayer. Nothing I can say would do a single bit of good though if you have no desire for union with God. Our Gospel today shows us clearly what is necessary to pray. First we need to want to know how. Second we need to ask God to teach us. Humility is the foundation of prayer and we must admit, as his disciple did, that we do not know how to pray. Our Holy Father says that prayer means feeling our own insufficiency before God. Before we can receive the gift of prayer we must understand our place and we must want God above all things. A humble, contrite heart O God, you will not spurn.
Our thirst for happiness is infinite. That is why no matter how many things we have on this earth, they will never satisfy us. No matter what we achieve there will always be a desire for something else. Your thirst is infinite and it can only be satisfied by an infinite being. You can only be happy, satisfied and at peace when God fills your soul. He can only do this if you desire him above all else. If God is not your most important desire then you thirst for something else. To do that is to be forever unsatisfied. Or as Augustine said you will be restless until your heart rests in God.
Every week I lay a choice before you. Godís way or yours. But at the heart of every choice is the one I lay before you today. What is your deepest desire. If it isnít God then you will never be a happy. Never. For some that means eternally damned. No matter what we desire: health, wealth, power, affection, friendship, family; if we are not willing to sacrifice it to have God above all else then we are damned.
Today, I stand before you and call you to choose. We will spend several minutes in silence before Christ in the blessed Sacrament. I ask you to look deep inside yourselves and ask God to show you the true state of your soul no matter how much it hurts. I call upon God to surround us with legions of angels that we might not be deceived, by Satan or his minions, in what we hear. Humble yourself and ask God to allow you to see the truth about your relationship with him. Is he the deepest desire of your heart. Will you pay absolutely any price to be with him. If not then you had better beg him to change your heart. Ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?Ē Now we pray.

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