World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly
Genesis 18. 20 – 32
Colossians 2. 12 – 14
Luke 11. 1 – 13
St. Therese of Lisieux described prayer as a “surge of the heart”. It is more than just words in
our heads. It is truly sharing with God our deepest longings, joys, sorrows, and feelings. This is
the type of prayer which Jesus teaches his disciples.
He tells us to call God “Father”, an intimate term, and to remember that God is holy. He tells us
to speak to God about his Kingdom and his will for us. We also speak of “our daily bread”, our
needs. We ask for mercy and the ability to show mercy. And for God’s presence in times of
He also tells them to be persistent. Why? Prayer is not meant to “change God’s mind” but to
draw us into union with the divine. Not giving up on prayer keeps the line of communication
open, allowing God to speak to us also. This can help us see things in a different light, or lead
us in a new direction, or soften our hearts. Or maybe we just need to be patient.
Prayer is meant to break us out of our closed mindedness. We call to the God who is both near
enough that we can call him Father and yet so different from us. God is a mystery to us, but
through prayer we can gain insight into his nature. And then we can learn to depend on him for
all that we need.
What can be difficult about praying from the heart?
What have I learned personally from persisting in prayer?
Do I need to change up my prayer routine?
Today’s readings highlight the importance of persistent prayer. The first reading, taken from
the book of Genesis, gives us the model for intercessory prayer provided by Abraham in his
dialogue with God. Although Abraham seems to be trying to manipulate God through his
skillful bargaining and humble, persistent intercession, God is actually being moved to mercy
by the goodness of a few innocent souls.
Although Abraham is depicted as having a direct conversation with God, the story can be
thought of as a lesson on prayer. Abraham is hesitant to confront God repeatedly but chooses to
do so anyway. He remains persistent in his desire to reach God and ends up successful in his
mission. In the Gospel, Jesus gives the disciples a set prayer for when they are at a loss for
words. He then follows with a parable demonstrating the importance of perseverance in prayer.
In this parable, Jesus does not delineate any special action or words that need to be recited
when praying. What he highlights is the man’s persistence, even when his friend was stubborn.
We may not always feel “in the mood” to pray. The desire to pray will come and go, as will our
awareness of God’s presence with us. But God is consistently at our sides whether we feel it or
not. And remaining persistent in our prayer lives helps us to remember God’s presence in our
lives and keeps us open to seeing it. There are many ways to pray, but there is nothing special
we really need to do to pray. Praying is about listening and giving up control to God. God is
always waiting for us to come to him. All we need to do is show up—and show up consistently.
The Responsorial Psalm (Ps 138), with the Psalm Response, “Lord, on the day I called for help,
you answered me,” is a hymn of hope and trust in the Lord, reminding us that God is close to
the humble of heart and to all those who call upon Him in their need.
The second reading, taken from Paul’s Letter to the Colossians, though it does not address
prayer, reminds us of the need of perseverance in our living faith in Christ, which provides the
basis for all Christian prayers, especially for liturgical prayer: the mystery of the Death and
Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Paul assures us that even when we were dead in sin, God gave us
new life through Jesus and pardoned all our sins.
In the Gospel passage, after teaching a model prayer, Jesus instructs his disciples to pray to
God their Heavenly Father with the same boldness, daring, intimacy, conviction, persistence
and perseverance Abraham displayed and the friend in need in the parable employed. He gives
us the assurance that God will not be irritated by our requests or unwilling to meet them with
Prayer is essential for Christian family life. To remain faithful in marriage, the spouses must
pray, not only individually, but together. They must thank God and offer intercessory prayers
for each other, for their children and for their dear ones. Daily prayer will help married couples
to celebrate and reverence God’s vision of human sexuality and honor life from conception to
natural death. Here is St. John Marie Vianney’s advice to a couple: “Spend three minutes
praising and thanking God for all you have. Spend three minutes asking God’s pardon for your
sins and presenting your needs before Him. Spend three minutes reading the Bible and listening
to God in silence. And do this every day.”
We need to accept others as children of God and thereby our brothers and sisters: Through the
Our Father, Jesus is giving us a new vision of human relationships: that we all, irrespective of
our color, creed or social background, are the children of God and thereby are brothers and
sisters. When we learn this lesson – if we can learn this lesson, if we are able to treat God as
our Father and love Him accordingly, and if we are able to treat every other human being as our
own dear brothers and sisters and love them accordingly then, and then only, shall we
experience the Kingdom of God here on earth and enjoy this in the next life. When we love
each other and forgive each other’s failings God also will love us and forgive us. This is the
foundation of true faith.
Today we celebrate the World Day of Grandparents and the Elderly. It is an opportunity to
proclaim once more, with joy, that the Church wants to celebrate together with all those whom
the Lord in the words of the Bible has “filled with days”. Let us celebrate it together!
Let us make sure that no one feels alone on this day. Expecting a visit can transform those days
when we think we have nothing to look forward to; from an initial encounter, a new friendship
can emerge. Visiting the elderly who live alone is a work of mercy in our time!
Let us ask Our Lady, Mother of Tender Love, to make all of us artisans of the revolution of
tenderness, so that together we can set the world free from the spectre of loneliness and the
demon of war.