October 6, 2022
by Edward Morse
Creighton University's School of Law
click here for photo and information about the writer

Thursday of the Twenty-seventh Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 464

Galatians 3:1-5
Luke 1:69-70, 71-72, 73-75
Luke 11:5-13

Praying Ordinary Time

The Apostle Paul does not mince words in today’s lesson from his letter to the Galatians: “O stupid Galatians!”; “Are you so stupid?”  I have a friend who is fond of saying, “You can’t fix stupid”.  But the Apostle Paul seems to believe that a fix of some kind is possible.

Often we look back and recognize our behavior was stupid, foolish, immature, and selfish. Time and distance, coupled with a little humility and wisdom gained from experience, often produces maturity and a measure of understanding greater than we might have been capable of beforehand. Gratitude may flow from that understanding as we take steps to repent and live in light of our newfound insights.  We are works in progress.   

For the Galatians, good experiences with the work of the Holy Spirit apparently did not produce any commitment to enduring principles, which would have allowed them to continue to live in conformity with the guidance of the Spirit.  They had lost their way.  Pride often makes us obtuse, closing our mind and soul to the truth that we need to guide us on our journey.  The ordinary affairs of life can crowd out the truth, causing us to forget what is most important.  Sadly, sometimes we also choose to forget because we wish to follow our own insights, which we hope will take us on another path that will suit us better. But following pride is perilous.  We can become stupid on this journey, which gradually robs us of reality and causes us to seek meaning in the milieu of our own making.  This is thin gruel indeed.

In today’s gospel, our Lord speaks rather frankly about the importance of persistence.  Persistence requires humility.  If we are so important, we could simply bark out a command.  If we are so winsome, surely our persuasive words will carry the day.  But instead, we come as needy persons, who cannot command or persuade.  We are the needy ones, who depend upon you, Lord, to help us.  We are to persist in prayer in this posture.  Keep asking, seeking, knocking.  Indeed, you will find what you were seeking after, but perhaps not exactly what you thought you wanted.  The rest of the teaching reminds us that the Father will give good gifts to His children when they ask.  But the gift the Father has for you may be unexpectedly better than what you thought you needed – if indeed you are open to see it. 

Lord, teach us to pray persistently.  Let us not lose heart when things do not go our way.  Give us the humility to keep asking you for what we need, as well as to learn from our past to conform the desires we have to the good that you want for us.  Let us know the power of your love to guide us when we feel lost, and even when we think we know the way ourselves.  Thanks be to God.

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