Lambing

October 16, 2022 – 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Click here for the readings (https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/101622.cfm)

Resentful of his neighbor’s humble faith, a local bully would usually make fun of the old lady’s religiosity. At times he would mockingly insult her, saying: “Waay ka gid makuha sa imo pag-ampo” – You gain nothing from praying. The old lady would just keep silent & smile instead. One day, the bully overheard the lady praying this way: “Gratitude O Lord for all your blessings. My food-supply though is just enough for this week.  Hope my hard-up children could extend assistance. Though I believe you would take care of me as you always have been. If it is your will, Lord, grant me enough of what I need. So may it be.”

Hearing this, the bully bought some enough food-supply at the grocery. Then, next day, he went to his old lady’s house, placed a bagful of grocery in front of her door, hid somewhere and waited for his neighbor’s reaction. When the neighbor found the bag outside, she was happy and all praise to God for the graces right in front of her. Suddenly, the man intervened and said, “Aha, got you. That bag of food is not from your God but from Me. See, your God doesn’t care for you“. The old lady just smiled & loudly prayed, “Lord, many thanks for these food you have provided me today and….. for letting my good neighbor pay for it“.

Praying to God has always been part of our faith-life. And in our efforts to pray, there will always a discontent within us with the way we pray – that somehow there is something kulang/inadequate or missing in the way we pray, and we don’t know what and how. There is always a desire and longing for the best way to pray. Deep inside, we do cry: “Lord, teach us how to pray”. Our readings today are all about prayer, and teaching us how to pray.

In our first reading, we hear that Israel won the war against Amalekite as long as and because of Moses persistently raising up his hands to heaven to pray – not without the help of others. St. Paul in the second reading appeals for constancy and never losing patience in proclaiming and sharing our faith to others. Jesus in our gospel today points out that the same kind of widow’s persistency to the judge moves God to respond to our pressing needs and concerns.

Meaning, prayer is our humble, trusting and persistent expression of our appeals, requests – of our heart’s desire to God before His presence. In other words, our readings today are teaching us that prayer is basically our persistent & constant lambing  “Kakulitan” “Pamaraig” “paang-ga” to God, our Father.

Here, we are reminded that God always listens to our prayers. God as our parent wants to listen to our heart’s desire. He knows and understands our needs and concerns. At the same time, he wants us to come near & be constant in our prayer-lambing to Him.

Also, God always answers our prayers in His own time and ways. Yes, sometimes we do feel frustrated with God for not answering our prayers. But same way we experience our own parents, God seems silent or passive with our prayers but actually He is discerning and planning what is best for us, better than what we prayed for. We are only to express our prayers – our pamaraig persistently, wait patiently and trusting that not long for now we receive more and better than what we expected.  Like what happened with our story above, God has His own ways and time to grant our prayers… & perhaps, even allow others to pay for it.

Our readings these past few Sundays have taught us also a lot about faith. We come to learn that Faith is not something we can demand, for it is God’s gift to us. Faith also is rather our response in gratitude & in return for such gift of faith we already have. And today, we are taught that our faith is also our constant loving Lambing to our father, as he reminded us in our gospel to “pray always without weary”. Meaning our faith is our constant, consistent & persistent entrusting of ourselves to Him in lambing-prayer. 

What matters then, for Jesus is not our desires, longings, needs, hungers, and cravings for gifts, but it is our persistency, patient waiting and trust and confidence in God, our Father. Praying to God, then is about not what we pray, but how we pray; not what we ask for, but how we ask it from Him that matters. It is the manner of prayer – the lambing, kakulitan, pamaraig, paangga: is significant “For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” In other words, it is the FAITH – the asking, seeking, and knocking – and not the content, outcome, or perks are most important.

May our prayers then be expressions of our persistent faith & without weary lambing, heart-desire to the Giver of the gift rather than our mere longing for the gifts we want & need.

Amen. So be it. Siya Nawa.

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