- The Abbey of the Genesee - https://www.geneseeabbey.org -

Homily: June 25, 2015

Fr. John Denburger, OCSO

12 Thursday in Ordinary Time in Ordinary Time
Genesis 16: 1-2, 15 – 16; Ps: 106; Matthew 7: 21 – 29

In the context of His teaching the “Our Father”, Jesus’ word “When you pray…” leaves no room as to His mind, His desire for us. He and the Father and the Holy Spirit desire that we, each of us, have a living, life-giving relationship with the Most Holy Trinity and prayer is never an option. It is a necessity like breathing. Prayer is a most important way of living this relationship of faith. Without prayer true faith is just wishful-thinking.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus makes it most clear that prayer, true prayer, sincere prayer comes from the context of one’s whole life. Just as prayer, like any meaningful relationship, is to be a constant, so obedience is to be a constant. Someone has written: “What faith is to the heart, obedience is to the will.”

If obedience does not mark our lives, obedience to God’s will, His commandments, His beatitudes, His personal inspirations, then prayer is directed to some idol, some image of God – an image that in reality has no existence, an image of one’s fantasy, one’s personal creation. A god manufactured for personal convenience is not a rarity.

We need to take to heart clearly, deeply Jesus’ teaching; He speaks to us, each one, with great love, with profound concern for our good, for our eternal salvation and, of course, in the truth: “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the Kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of My Father in heaven.”

A life, yours and mine, lived in obedience to His word is being built on rock, on Christ Himself. Therefore, it is a life centered, focused on Him like the crowds who came to hear Him – struck with wonder, spellbound, deeply committed – an obedient life is truly a Christian life – without heartfelt obedience one only pretends.