prayer with action
32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time – A
Fr. Mark Gatto
Preached: Nov 12, 2017
There is a saying: “Never pray in a room without windows.” Prayer is not to be an escape from the world nor an escape from responsibility. We do not pray and then go sit and wait for God to do something. Prayer should bring us to see the world as God sees it and then to do something.
In the second reading, St. Paul is speaking about the Resurrection, tells the Thessalonians “we do not grieve as others do who have no hope.” For in the Resurrection we have eternal life ahead of us, we have hope beyond this time.
The Responsorial Psalm expresses that deep longing, “My soul thirsts for you O Lord my God.” We hunger and thirst for God, for eternal love, we long to be with God. But, longing for heaven does not mean we sit out this life. As we look with hope to eternal life, it does not mean that this life does not matter. Our longing for God and for eternal life begins with a longing to be with God now, in this life. To see and care for creation, to see and care for our fellow human beings as God sees and cares for them.
In the parable of the wise and foolish bridesmaids, we see the wise ones who took extra oil and so were prepared and ready when the bridegroom came in the middle of the night. The foolish ones did not take extra oil and so were not prepared and unable enter with the bridegroom. They were left out. We need wisdom so that our prayer is not just an excuse to do nothing. Our prayer should lead us to reflect and look at what action is needed. Then we will be ready to enter with God wherever and whenever the Lord comes to be present and work in our world.
Gun violence: Another Mass shooting in the States, this time in Texas. Many prayers offered for the victims and those suffering. That is a good thing. But, God must be tired of being called upon by people who have no intention of looking at the situation and taking responsibility to do something about it. Our prayer should lead us to action, to care, to find ways to work against this gun violence.
Mental Illness: A reality so prevalent in our society. One of the major causes of death among young people is suicide. Prayer for those who are suffering from mental illness and for their families and friends struggling, often in frustration to help them, is a good thing. But, our prayer should also cause us to reflect on this reality within our society. To want to understand mental illness more deeply, to be sensitive to so many struggling with various forms of mental illness, sometimes hidden. Our prayer should also cause to ask important questions about what ways our society could respond in a better way, to provide greater resources for dealing with this reality.
Remembrance Day: A time for us to remember those who have died in previous wars, to honour their sacrifice. Prayer on this day is also a good thing. But, attending a Memorial, offering some form of prayer, is not enough. It must lead us to see that war is a failure of humanity. Our prayer should lead us to being instruments of peace within the world, within our family.
So, pray, but “never pray in a room without windows.” Do not pray and then sit back and wait for God to do something.Pray to see with God’s eyes, to see where and what I might be called to do.As we hunger and thirst for the living God, for Eternal life, hunger and thirst to join in what God longs for in our world today.Then we will be like the wise bridesmaids who were prepared to enter when the bridegroom came.