Fr Thomas’ Homily for the 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Prayerfulness, Insistent Prayer

Pilgrimages are prayerful and reflective.  I was with a group of religious people in the Holy Land.  We were busy from morning till evening, visiting sites of biblical importance.  A friend of mine was feeling uneasy that his morning, noon, and evening prayers are interrupted by the travel schedules and site visits.  But he found a solution to the problem. Proudly he announced, “Today I don’t have to worry about the prayer of the hours.  I said all the prayers for the day – the morning, noon, and evening prayers-, before my breakfast.”   He even finished his evening prayer before his breakfast!

For my friend, prayer was just another task to be done.  Though the prayers were specifically meant for different hours, for him just reading them at once, had the satisfaction of fulfilling his religious duty.  But did he actually pray?  A religious person prays the official prayer of the Church three or four times a day to keep up a sense of prayerfulness through the day.  Ordinary Catholics keep up the prayerfulness by reciting the “Angelus” or rosary prayer or reading the Bible at least once a day.  These days, many people use their phones to read Bible passages at different breaks in a busy working day.  Parents, with a desire to train their children in prayerfulness sit with them for family prayers each day.  Catholic Schools pray at different times during the school hours.  Thus an atmosphere of prayerfulness is created.

We want to live in a state of prayerfulness because the Gospel asks us to be insistently praying.  Jesus told the story of a widow who nagged a reluctant and unjust judge for justice.  Though the judge could not care any less, the widow’s petition was granted because of her insistence.  If it works with an unjust judge, how much more the insistent prayer will be answered by our God who cares for us.

You and I are in need of the fullness of the Holy Spirit.  St Paul advises that we need to pray always for the gift of the Holy Spirit.  So what we do?  Spend the whole day reciting prayers?  No.  Otherwise there won’t be any time for anything else.  St Paul himself did not spend his days just reciting prayers.  Prayerfulness is a life that is in communion with Jesus always.  The schedule of prayers help us to be prayerful, and the gift of the Holy Spirit will be ours.