Monday, September 6, 2010

17th Sunday of Ordinary Time

What can we say about God? What I mean is: What does each one of us at a personal level can say about God. And I’m not talking about what we can recite from memory about God: God is the Creator of heaven and earth, of all that is seen and unseen. I want you to think about this; imagine yourself taking a walk in a mall or a park and God is walking next to you, pretty much like Abraham in today’s first reading. All of the sudden you meet a friend of a relative, and they ask you who is that person next to you. What would you do? What would you say? Think about it for a second… how would you introduce God to a friend?
I bring this up because in today’s gospel we heard the story of disciples asking Jesus to teach them how to pray. Jesus, who was always in the presence of His father, takes this opportunity to introduce God, in a very personal and very human way. What I mean is that, he could have used one of the very elaborated descriptions of God’s majesty that are found in the psalms, or on one of the mighty displays of divine power that are found in the bible books like Exodus or Genesis, Instead he introduces God, His father in the same way we, any one of us, would introduce our own father’s to a friend.
Let me show you what I mean: There is kind of a pattern we all follow when we introduce some socially. Usually the first thing we say is the name and our relationship with this person. We might say “Hi this is Nanci, my wife” or “John my friend”. In today’s Gospel Jesus says: This is “Abba, who is in heaven”. Teaching His disciples that God’s preferred name is not Jehovah or Adonai , but the simple and familiar “daddy”.
Now, going back to how we introduce people socially, after communicating name and relation, we might say something that will give an idea of the kind of person we are presenting. Jesus says that “Abba” is so holy that even His name is holy and that his will extends throughout heaven and earth.
As I was reflecting in these first lines of the “Our Father”, it occurred to me that for Trinitarian believers like us, people who believe in a triune God, one God in three persons, this is one of the most significant passages in the scripture, because it reveals to us the deep and personal relationship between the first two persons of this Blessed Trinity. Before this moment in the history of Israel God has been thought of as a powerful, sometimes loving, sometimes scary, but always detached God. It is Jesus who reveals to us the true nature of the God head, like a friend we might meet in the street he tells us “ Hi…This is my dad”.
But that is not all, in today’s Gospel Jesus not only introduces His father to us but reminds us that He is our father to, that we can all share in the special relationship the three persons of the Trinity enjoy. He says: “What father among you would hand his son a snake when he asks for a fish? Or hand him a scorpion when he asks for an egg? How much more will the Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?" The Holy Spirit, the third person of the most blessed trinity is God’s presence among ourselves, always present were ever we go.
My brothers and sisters, when we pray the Our Father, we declare that the God of Jesus is our father to, that we depend on him for “our daily bread” and the forgiveness of our sins. When we ask God to send his Spirit to us we ask for his presence to always accompany us in the same way God the Father and God the Holy Spirit always accompanied Jesus.
Today, I asked you: If God were standing next to you, how would you introduce him to a friend? What would you say? I think that this is one of those questions without a correct answer. Each one of us have to look at our own relationships with God and look at how do we experience God in our lives to really been able to give an answer. My hope is that someday when we are called to do so, each one of us can give the same answer: Who is this God that is always by my side? Let me introduce him to you, He is my dad