Walk With and Talk With Our God

07-24-2022Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

Do you remember the story about Abraham in last week’s Old Testament reading, when he observed all the rules of formal hospitality for his three mysterious guests? This week’s story about a visitor has a much more causal social approach to it. God comes down from heaven and goes for a causal stroll with Abraham. It appears God personally feels a need to check up on what is happening in Sodom and Gomorrah. Notice in this story that Abraham is not even slightly fazed that God would walk with him on a road. It is interesting that Abraham does not feel overwhelmed, intimidated, or bullied by God as this man drives a very hard bargain with God to spare the two cities if at least ten just people are found living in the cities.

This entire first reading is about Abraham and his approach with God; trading points back and forth to obtain what he wants. This story is a plain and clear example of what prayer might be like for us with God. In fact, this is a type of prayer that Jesus advocates in the Gospel passage of today. The apostles ask Jesus to teach them to pray after they saw Him in prayer. This is also similar to how John the Baptist related to his disciples. We realize that Luke’s descriptive passage of this event is much more intense than the other two Gospel writers, Matthew and Mark. The prayer of Jesus, as found in Luke, has the request for enough bread for each day. Note it is for each day. In Luke, Jesus also asks for deliverance from evil every day. We must note that the Lucan form of the Our Father, as it became known, was not the final standardized version that the Christian Church adopted. What did become part of the prayer was the awareness of the human need for asking for help every day.

We recognize from the Gospel passage that Jesus has a familiarity with God which we also view in the stories about Abraham. The Gospel writer Luke compares God to a human father who may be fallible and changeable, but whose resolve for his wellbeing and safety is firm. Indeed the passage states that our heavenly Father is ever so generous and willing to respond to our needs in whatever way we make our needs known to Him. Jesus also urges us to be a “bit of a pain” just like Abraham was.

Notice the use of the various strong action verbs: “ask,” “seek,” and “knock”. They are very bold and action orientated words. We are not to be timid. This closeness of God allows a deeper relationship to develop. It is clear that we are to knock on God’s door.

We come to realize and develop an understanding that the God to whom we address our prayer is willing to give up everything for our sake. Recall God is most willing to talk with Abraham and become the losing person in an astounding bargain. Like Abraham we must walk with and talk with our God and ask Him for our daily bread in its various forms.

Fr. Brian