Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Homilies

Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M.
/ Categories: Homilies

Prayer in the Life of Jesus

Homily for Tuesday of the Twenty-third Week in Ordinary Time

Exactly one month ago, we celebrated the Feast of the Transfiguration. The Gospel for that feast was taken from the Gospel of St. Luke and noted that of the Transfiguration of Jesus took place as he was at prayer atop Mount Horeb. The Gospel for today does not describe a miraculous or spectacular event, but it does note that before Jesus designated which of his disciples would become The Twelve, he was again found at prayer. St. Luke tells us that Jesus prayed before several important moments in this Gospel.

Depending upon which Gospel we read, we are told that Jesus had seventy or seventy-two disciples, men and women who traveled with Jesus and supported him in his ministry. Out of this group, he chose twelve men for a special role. After his resurrection and ascension, these Twelve would be commissioned to go into the whole world preaching and baptizing. As we will read in the Book of Revelation, the walls around the holy city Jerusalem will include twelve courses of stone, each bearing the name of one of the twelve apostles. It is very obvious that Jesus was conscious of the need to link the people of the New Covenant with the people of the Old Covenant, who were people taken from the twelve tribes of Israel.

At one point in the Gospel, Jesus will send the entire group of disciples out on mission. The fact that Jesus makes this decision in the context of prayer tells us in no uncertain terms that this was one of the defining moments in the life of Jesus. Jesus would only extend his mission to those in whom he could place his trust. Yet we know that one of The Twelve would go on to be his betrayer.

Perhaps it is because of St. Luke’s inclusion of this detail in the important events of Jesus’s life that we today also begin experiences of some moment with prayer. Whenever we gather together, we remind ourselves of our connection to Jesus by signing ourselves with the cross, the symbol first imposed upon our foreheads at our baptism, renewed at our confirmation, and repeated each time we receive the Sacrament of the Sick. The liturgy of the church grew out of the custom of the early Christians who prayed the Lord’s prayer three times a day, in the morning, at Eucharist, and in the evening. That custom is still kept today for all those who celebrate the Liturgy of the Hours and the daily Eucharist. Like Jesus, the most important events of our lives are done in the context of prayer.

May we, like The Twelve, continue to remain close to Jesus, his Father, and the Holy Spirit by invoking their name at the important moments of our day.

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