Fr. O’Connor’s Homily: July 24th, 2016

17th Sunday in Ordinary Time – C


Genesis 18: 20-32

Colossians 2: 12-14

Luke 11: 1-13


A small boy was trying to move a big rock, and he wasn’t getting anywhere.  His dad was standing there watching him.  Finally his dad said, “Son, are you using all the strength you have to move that rock?”  The boy answered, “Yes, Dad, I am.”  The father replied, “No, you’re not, Son.  You haven’t asked me to help you.”

We have greater strength when we are connected with others.

Our age is very set on staying connected, isn’t it?  We e-mail.  We text.  We Tweet.  People bond through Facebook with their three or four thousand closest friends.  We strive to stay connected.

A bishop was celebrating Confirmation and he asked the students how many had their own cell phone.  Twenty-six of the twenty-eight had their own cell phones.  He asked them how much time a week they spent talking and texting.  One person claimed forty hours each week.  The average for that whole class was three hours a day on the phone.

Then the bishop asked, “Now, how much time do you spend with God every day in prayer?”  The most was fifteen minutes from that same class.  The average was less than eight minutes in prayer each day.

What does that say?  Three hours a day staying connected with friends and family, and eight minutes a day staying connected with God.  That calls the question, doesn’t it?  Is God my dearest friend, or a distant acquaintance?  What place do I give to God in my life?  They are questions for each one of us to ask ourselves.  And the facts about how, as stewards of God’s bountiful blessings, we use God’s gift of time tell us the truth.  Do I make the effort to stay connected with God … or not?

There was a person who was complaining to their priest, “I’ve stopped praying because God doesn’t answer my prayers.”  The priest responded, “If you treated your friends the way you treat God, they wouldn’t answer you either!”

What do our lives reveal about our desire to stay connected with God?

We hear about Abraham in the first reading, from the Book of Genesis, the very first book of the Bible.  Abraham seems to be bargaining with God.  God is upset with the sinful cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, and God says He’s going to destroy them.

And so on the way to Sodom, Abraham talks with God.  But notice the spirit of it.  Abraham has a close relationship with God, like a friendship. And you know how you can talk to a friend – a little differently than you can talk to an acquaintance.  And in talking to your friend, you know exactly which buttons to push.

Abraham praised God for being just.  And then he went from there… “Lord, what if in the city of Sodom we find fifty people who are innocent.  Will you destroy the whole city including those fifty?”

“No,” God says, “I won’t.”

“Well God, since you’re just and everybody knows it, how about forty-five people?  How about forty?  How about thirty?  How about twenty?  How about ten?”

“No,” God says.”  If there are ten people there that are innocent, I will not destroy the city.”

Abraham praised God for His justice, and Abraham connected with God in God’s work.

Jesus teaches us a very similar lesson in the Gospel today.  One of the disciples asks, “Jesus, would you teach us to pray just like John the Baptist taught his disciples?”  So Jesus taught them, and has taught us, that prayer that we call the Lord’s Prayer – the Our Father.

Notice that Jesus doesn’t begin by saying “Almighty God.”  He begins by saying, “This is how you are to pray.  Say Father…”  That’s personal.  That’s family.  That’s close.  That’s friendly.  Pray “Our Father.”

Jesus is saying “My Father is now your Father.  You are connected with Him.”

We need to visit the hot spots of our life, where we can connect with God – like we visit the hot spots of Wi-Fi.  God has offered us a relationship with Himself.  And God welcomes and waits for our response to Him.

I ask some questions of myself, and I ask you to ask the same questions of yourself:  Is God my dearest friend, or a distant acquaintance?  What place do I give to God in my life?  How connected am I right now with God?  How much do I want to be connected with God?

We remember that God’s connectivity is always on for me.  Is my receptivity always on for God?