16 October 2010

'Pray always . . .' 29th Sunday of Ordinary Time Year C, 17 October 2010

I left Dublin on Thursday night to fly back to Manila via Abu Dhabi. It will probably take a day or two to get over jet-lag which hits you more when you're flying for west to east. when you fly from east to west you are essentially going to bed very late when you reach your destination. But when you go the other way you miss a night's sleep and your internal 'clock' is confused.


New American Bible (Philippines, USA)

Jerusalem Bible (Australia, England & Wales, Ireland, Scotland)

Gospel (Luke 18:1-8, NAB)

Jesus told his disciples a parable about the necessity for them to pray always without becoming weary. He said, "There was a judge in a certain town who neither feared God nor respected any human being. And a widow in that town used to come to him and say, 'Render a just decision for me against my adversary.'

For a long time the judge was unwilling, but eventually he thought, 'While it is true that I neither fear God nor respect any human being, because this widow keeps bothering me I shall deliver a just decision for her lest she finally come and strike me.'"

The Lord said, "Pay attention to what the dishonest judge says. Will not God then secure the rights of his chosen ones who call out to him day and night? Will he be slow to answer them? I tell you, he will see to it that justice is done for them speedily. But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?"


I am often astonished when persons who have asked me to pray for them come to me later and thank me for my prayers. I find this especially in the Philippines. It makes me feel humble. I bring all of these intentions into the Mass and into the Liturgy of the Hours (the Breviary or Divine Office) since this is the official prayer of the Church and involves not only me but the whole Church, the angels and saints in heaven, the souls in purgatory and all Christians here on earth. Most of all it is the prayer of Jesus Christ the Risen Lord.

Our personal prayers are powerful too. As I first wrote this the 33 trapped Chilean miners were being rescued. People around the world had been praying for them while the rescuers used their professional knowledge and expertise. Prayer practical efforts, not necessarily by ourselves, go together. For example, when we pray for someone who has to have surgery we can and should include the medical personnel involved in our prayer.

This time last year when my Columban colleague Fr Michael Sinnott was kidnapped in the southern Philippines people around the world were praying for his release, as so many have been praying for the Chilean miners. Among those praying for Father Michael were my young friends in Holy Family Home, Bacolod City, which we have featured a number of times in Misyon, eg, here and here (video). You can see the response of the girls to the release of Father Michael here. On that occasion one of the girls approached me and sai, 'Father, we are the miracle girls'. God had answered her prayers and those of her companions. Their prayers too helped all those involved behind the scenes in obtaining the release of Father Sinnott. The greatest miracle of all was that despite his lack of medicines for a heart condition he suffered no discomfort whatever healthwise. And, of course, his own prayers helped.

While waiting at Dublin airport on Thursday evening for my flight back to Manila via Abu Dhabi a young Filipina approached me and asked me to give her a blessing for a safe journey. She was delighted when I told her I was on the same flight. After blessing her I turned around and there saw Fr Michael Sinnott who was also on the same flight, though I hadn't known. Both he and I were wearing our Roman collars. This led, in my case, to a number of conversations during the trip and while waiting for more than an hour before I reached an immigration officer in Manila, due to the volume of passengers.

One of 'The Miracle Girls'

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