Home Page Home Page Events Events Photos Photos Diocese of Ogdensburg Home Page  
Follow Us on Facebook


Father Muench Says...

October Scriptures are lessons in prayer

Oct. 30, 2019

By Father William Muench
NCC columnist

The Sunday Scriptures during October are like a spiritual workshop in prayer. Each Sunday, the Gospel reading is from the 17th or the 18th chapter of St. Luke’s Gospel. St. Luke cleverly places these readings together in his Gospel. On these Sundays, Jesus teaches us to begin our prayer with gratitude, to be persistent in prayer and to pray with humility. Each time we pray, we should recognize our need for God’s mercy and constant support.

Jesus teaches us of the importance of gratitude in the story of the healing of the 10 lepers. In this story, Jesus points out to his disciples that only one healed leper returned to offer gratitude to Jesus and to God. He recognizes him as a Samaritan, not a Hebrew, one unlikely to offer gratitude to Jesus. The Gospels often tell us of the good things done by rather unlikely people.

For Jesus, gratitude is an essential part of prayer. Each time we begin prayer or join in the celebration of Mass, we must begin with gratitude. In faith, we know well the many wonderful gifts with which the Lord has blessed us. In prayer, we should remember God’s constant support on the good days and the difficult days. God gives us the wisdom and strength and faith to get through it all. We must be grateful for God’s support when we are in need – the trust and confidence for God to carry us on.

Jesus teaches us to be persistent in prayer. Persistent prayer draws us closer to God. Persistence in prayer gives us a close relationship with God. Persistence does not mean how long we should pray. Persistence is about a moment of prayer – a minute or an hour – to call to mind our faith and belief in God and to remember God’s presence in our lives.

Persistence is about love. When we take that moment to remember God’s love and care for each and every one of us, we should be filled with love for this God of ours. Prayer is about falling in love with God. Humanly speaking, when you or I fall in love with someone, that person comes to mind all the time – often a thousand times a day. Each day, many, many things remind us of the one we love. The same must be true of our love of God. So, there are many, many things each day that should remind us of God. Each of these memories of God is truly a prayer – a moment to call to mind our God and to realize our dependence on God’s love and support. Each of these moments strengthens our relationship with God. This is persistence. This is prayer.

Jesus teaches us to be humble in prayer. The story of the Pharisee and the tax collector is Jesus’ opportunity to demonstrate to us the importance of humility. In this story, Jesus’ description of the Pharisee as he prays shows us that he is proud and selfish. He is much too proud. The tax collector humbly stays at the back with his eyes down admitting his sinfulness and need for God’s help and love. “O God, be merciful to me, a sinner.”

This prayer of the tax collector has become the familiar Jesus prayer. “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” This short, simple prayer is a perfect moment to remember our faith and trust in God – a moment to strengthen our confidence in God. This quick, little prayer demonstrates our need and confidence in God’s mercy and forgiveness. Thank you, God, for listening to us always as we pray.

North Country Catholic North Country Catholic is
honored by Catholic Press
Association of US & Canada

Copyright © Roman Catholic Diocese of Ogdensburg. All rights reserved.