Lectionary 17, Year C
Persistence in prayer evoked the admiration of Jesus and wins the attention of the Lord when Abraham intercedes for Sodom. The life of the baptized—to be rooted and built up in Christ Jesus the Lord—is to be rooted in prayer. God hears and answers prayer and so strengthens God’s own. “When I called, you answered me; you increased my strength within me.”
First Reading: Genesis 18:20-32
In today’s reading, Abraham undertakes the role of a mediator between God and sinful humanity. Appealing to God’s justice, Abraham boldly asks for mercy for the city of Sodom, for the sake of the few righteous people who are in it, including Abraham’s nephew, Lot.
20Then the Lord said, “How great is the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah and how very grave their sin! 21I must go down and see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry that has come to me; and if not, I will know.”
22So the men turned from there, and went toward Sodom, while Abraham remained standing before the Lord. 23Then Abraham came near and said, “Will you indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked? 24Suppose there are fifty righteous within the city; will you then sweep away the place and not forgive it for the fifty righteous who are in it? 25Far be it from you to do such a thing, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous fare as the wicked! Far be that from you! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?” 26And the Lord said, “If I find at Sodom fifty righteous in the city, I will forgive the whole place for their sake.” 27Abraham answered, “Let me take it upon myself to speak to the Lord, I who am but dust and ashes. 28Suppose five of the fifty righteous are lacking? Will you destroy the whole city for lack of five?” And he said, “I will not destroy it if I find forty-five there.” 29Again he spoke to him, “Suppose forty are found there.” He answered, “For the sake of forty I will not do it.” 30Then he said, “Oh do not let the Lord be angry if I speak. Suppose thirty are found there.” He answered, “I will not do it, if I find thirty there.” 31He said, “Let me take it upon myself to speak to the Lord. Suppose twenty are found there.” He answered, “For the sake of twenty I will not destroy it.” 32Then he said, “Oh do not let the Lord be angry if I speak just once more. Suppose ten are found there.” He answered, “For the sake of ten I will not destroy it.”
Psalm: Psalm 138
Your steadfast love endures forever; do not abandon the works of your hands. (Ps. 138:8)
1I will give thanks to you, O Lord, with | my whole heart;
before the gods I will | sing your praise.
2I will bow down toward your holy temple and praise your name, because of your steadfast | love and faithfulness;
for you have glorified your name and your word a- | bove all things. R
3When I called, you | answered me;
you increased my | strength within me.
4All the rulers of the earth will praise | you, O Lord,
when they have heard the words | of your mouth.
5They will sing of the ways | of the Lord,
that great is the glory | of the Lord.
6The Lord is high, yet cares | for the lowly,
perceiving the haughty | from afar. R
7Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you | keep me safe;
you stretch forth your hand against the fury of my enemies; your right | hand shall save me.
8You will make good your pur- | pose for me;
O Lord, your steadfast love endures forever; do not abandon the works | of your hands. R
Second Reading: Colossians 2:6-15 [16-19]
Paul warns his congregation in Colossae about “the empty lure” of philosophies and traditions that compromise faith. Through the gift of faith, the church is mystically connected with Christ in his death and resurrection, which is enacted in baptism.
6As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, continue to live your lives in him, 7rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.
8See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the universe, and not according to Christ. 9For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, 10and you have come to fullness in him, who is the head of every ruler and authority. 11In him also you were circumcised with a spiritual circumcision, by putting off the body of the flesh in the circumcision of Christ; 12when you were buried with him in baptism, you were also raised with him through faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead. 13And when you were dead in trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive together with him, when he forgave us all our trespasses, 14erasing the record that stood against us with its legal demands. He set this aside, nailing it to the cross. 15He disarmed the rulers and authorities and made a public example of them, triumphing over them in it. [
16Therefore do not let anyone condemn you in matters of food and drink or of observing festivals, new moons, or sabbaths. 17These are only a shadow of what is to come, but the substance belongs to Christ. 18Do not let anyone disqualify you, insisting on self-abasement and worship of angels, dwelling on visions, puffed up without cause by a human way of thinking, 19and not holding fast to the head, from whom the whole body, nourished and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows with a growth that is from God.]
Gospel: Luke 11:1-13
In teaching his disciples this prayer, Jesus also reminds them to focus on God’s coming reign, God’s mercy, and the strengthening of the community. Jesus encourages his disciples to child-like trust and persistence in prayer.
1[Jesus] was praying in a certain place, and after he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.”2He said to them, “When you pray, say:
Father, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come.
3Give us each day our daily bread.
4And forgive us our sins,
for we ourselves forgive everyone indebted to us.
And do not bring us to the time of trial.”
5And he said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; 6for a friend of mine has arrived, and I have nothing to set before him.’ 7And he answers from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door has already been locked, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.’ 8I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, at least because of his persistence he will get up and give him whatever he needs.
9“So I say to you, Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. 10For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. 11Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for a fish, will give a snake instead of a fish? 12Or if the child asks for an egg, will give a scorpion? 13If 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!”
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