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This Sunday's Programme

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17th Sunday C

Sunday 24th July 2022

The Gospel Paraphrased

There are many fine translations of the Gospels readily available. This paraphrase is not meant to replace them. Rather the intention here is to offer a more contemporary rendering so that you can imaginatively translate the Gospel in your own situation.

This Sunday's Gospel Paraphrased

Lk 11:1-13

In happened that when they were in a certain place and Jesus had finished praying, one of his disciples asked, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, just like John taught with his disciples’. And he said to them, ‘When you pray say, “Father, may your name be hallowed, may your kingdom be realised, fulfil our daily needs, and forgive our sins, as we forgive everyone who has offended us. Do not put us to the test but rescue us from the evil one.”’

Then he said to them, ‘Which of you, wouldn’t go to a friend even at midnight and say, “Friend, friend, lend me some food. Look, a mate passing through has turned up out of the blue and I’ve nothing to offer.” Then the neighbour would reply, “Get lost. Can’t you see how late it is? The security is switched on, the kids are asleep. No way am I getting up.” Well I tell you, if he won’t get up and help because he is a friend, he will get up because he is being annoyed and is afraid of the embarrassment. In fact, he will give everything that is wanted.’

‘So I am telling you: ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. To everyone who knocks, it is opened. What father amongst you, if his son asked for bread would give a stone; if he asked for fish, would give a snake; if asked for an egg, would give a scorpion? If you, who are evil, know how to give good things to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask.’


The Psalms are the ancient prayers of the Jewish people, here paraphrased into contemporary language.

This Sunday's Psalm

Ps 137:1-3, 6-8

I will praise you God with my whole heart.
Before the angels, I will sing praise to you.
I will worship in your holy temple.

I will praise your names, ‘Loving Kindness’ and ‘Faithful’,
For your words are even greater than your names.
On the day I called, you answered me.
You emboldened me with strength of spirit.

High and mighty as God is, he looks upon the lowly
yet he can pick the proud from a distance.
When I am in distress, you will uphold my spirit.
You will protect me from the anger of my enemies.

Your right hand will protect me,
You will give me your personal protection.
You will look after all my needs.
Your kindness is eternal.
Do not abandon the works of your hands.


Words cannot contain our desire for God but they help direct our minds and hearts towards God's love and express our needs.

This Sunday's Prayer

Loving Father, let me take the teaching of Jesus to heart and come to you in prayer with a heart full of trust. Let your Spirit guide me to rest quietly in your love and allow your grace to transform my life.

The Commentaries Summarised

As a Church we are in a web of wisdom that comes to us both from tradition and contemporary writers. This section offers a summary of some commentaries on the Gospel. Also below is a list of the books and articles that have been consulted in compiling this Sunday's "Pray As You Can" and which could be used for further reading.

This Sunday's Commentary

Given the importance that prayer had in Jesus’ life in this Gospel, it was inevitable that Luke would devote a distinct block of teaching to prayer. Much of the material in this Sunday’s reading appears in the Gospel of Matthew. There it is subsumed into the Sermon on the Mount, the long section where Matthew presents Jesus’ teaching on a number of areas of human life. Here in Luke, it appears in the midst of the long journey to Jerusalem. Indeed, it occurs after the visit to the house of Martha and Mary. Did the example of Mary at the feet of Jesus spark something within the disciple who made the request?

While Luke presents Jesus praying before every major event of his ministry, in this instance, it seems that it is after a normal period of prayer that a disciple asks for his teaching on how to pray. There seems to be almost an embarrassment on the disciple’s part as he bolsters his request with the example of John and his disciples. The prayer given in our text is similar to the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew. The initial ‘our’ is omitted as well as the lines concerning God’s will, though some manuscripts have included them – perhaps due to an unease at the difference between the two Gospels. In the Exposition on this website there is further discussion on this prayer.

The parable that follows is unique to Luke. It is clearly meant to be humorous and shows, on Jesus’ part, an acute understanding of the dynamics of village life and the foibles of human beings. The request of the householder to his neighbour would not have been seen as unusual by Jesus’ hearers. The householder has been caught out with the arrival of his guest. Who else can he ask but his neighbour, given there were no shops, and that the demands of hospitality were held so high. It is not inconvenience that drives the neighbour out of bed but the fear of being found out by the rest of the village. So if he can be embarrassed into doing what is wanted, why can’t God? This is a totally fresh take on how to approach God and leads into the extraordinary confidence that Jesus recommends in the concluding section of the reading. If you want to pray: seek, ask, knock. All that is asked of us is a little gumption…and a trust that God truly will give the best gift: the Holy Spirit.


Christian conversion is promoted by conversation. This section is a response to and a development on the knowledge gained from the commentary section.

This Sunday's Exposition

One of the best pieces of advice on prayer that I have heard was given in a homily on this Gospel. The priest recommended that if we wanted to pray better, get a cup of tea or coffee, sit in a comfortable chair and slowly pray the ‘Our Father’. Yes, get up off your knees, unclasp your hands, lift your eyes and enter into a relaxed, friendly relationship with a God who wants us to call him ‘Father’. And what do we say? Well, we start with a few statements about the nature of reality: God’s name is holy, God’s kingdom is coming. So at the beginning of this prayer, I align my heart with reality as it is. God is holy and he is coming into this world, transforming it for good. Once we have affirmed and accepted that, we get to mention our needs – just enough for today, thanks. This prayer does not get stuck in a ‘gimme’ attitude, nor allow us to be self-indulgent. No family is happy when people are indulged, and God won’t let that happen in his family. The next request is the sticky bit, the area where we are all most likely to be challenged: to be forgiven as we forgive. This is where I can put a stop to the flow of God’s love; disturb the hallowing of God’s name, thwart God’s will. In praying these words, I align my experience of being forgiven with my practice of forgiving others. If you pray this seriously, here you may feel like getting up from the chair and walking away. But let us stay, God is kind and patient. Finally, we face the reality of evil and temptation. This had to come up. Our world is flawed and we find it hard to believe in a good God in the face of evil. So we are taught to acknowledge its existence and put our trust in God to deliver us from it, for we well know how weak we can be when tempted.

By now the hot drink will be finished or cooled. Gently, we have brought our lives into line with God. We have pondered the great realities of life and been refreshed. Now we can go back into the flow of daily life, being channels of grace to our world.


Reflection is an essential element of our growth in Christ. As we reflect over what we have learnt and ponder it in our hearts, we come to recognise the presence of God in our lives.

This Sunday's Reflection

Imagine if the little parable in the middle of this Sunday’s Gospel was turned into a movie short. An American version would play up the slapstick. Missiles (beginning with stones, ending up with shoes and flowerpots) would be thrown to get the attention of his neighbour, who had crawled back under his blanket and blocked his ears. Kids would be crying, the cat, startled, would get jump, land badly and claw down the wife’s back. Pandemonium! A French version would play the emotions – the frustration of the man, the embarrassment of the neighbour that the village might find out about his inhospitality. Mon Dieu, the shame of it!

What is clear from this is that Jesus told this story for laughs. Did his disciples do a mental double take later, realising that Jesus was discussing that most serious of subjects: ‘prayer’? Everything in his teaching in this Gospel (except perhaps the injunction concerning forgiving others) lightens, enlightens and enriches the heart. Calling God ‘Father’, wanting his kingdom to come, trusting that our daily needs will be met – these are not the actions of a fearful heart. Jesus encourages us to pray eagerly knocking, seeking, and trusting like a child that our desires will be well served. Jesus is wanting us to be ‘relaxed and comfortable’ when we come to pray. Maybe one way could start, would be by sharing a few jokes with God….now how would an Australian version of the parable play out?

Visual Meditation

Looking at art works or movies is a great way to open ourselves to the meaning of the Gospels. Seeing can bypass our preconceived notions, giving us new vistas of enlightenment. With painting or sculpture one needs to sit quietly and absorb the dynamics of the piece. The drama of movies more easily engages us and offers a way to conversation about the Gospel with other members of your family.

This Sunday's Visual Meditation

Art Works


Mulling Meditation

The purpose of mulling meditations is to offer a few ideas that one can mull about while doing other occupations. There are many things we do in our day that do not require our full attention - some things which are largely done on automatic pilot - like driving a car or peeling the potatoes. While we give these our attention, part of our mind is still at work mulling on other things and unless it is given something positive to feed on, we easily feed on negative thoughts. Personally I find mulling time the most likely time for God to get through to me. Because I am not so conscious of myself, God gets through the cracks and opens my heart to look at life differently.
Two practical times for mulling can be when exercising and when driving. Some small preparations for integrating such prayer into these exercises can be helpful.

As you do your preparatory stretches, pray the line of the Psalm "I praise you God for I am wonderfully made!"
Similarly when doing your concluding stretches use the prayer of St Clare "Praised be you, my God, for creating me!"

Have some music that you find helps you turn you mind and heart to God and play that for the first 10 minutes or so of your trip.

This Sunday's Mulling Meditation

As you go through this week, mull on how often you turn to God in prayer and ponder how trustful is your attitude. Before you pray, affirm your faith and trust in God.

Mirror Meditation

In the Letter of James, we are told that the Scriptures are like a mirror in which we can see ourselves. In this type of meditation we take a piece of Scripture, hold it before us and consider what echoes within our heart. These echoes help us to see who we are before God and how we are loved. What usually echoes in us are situations that we are dealing with in our lives. When something strikes us, we do not actively try to solve the situation or work it through. Rather we sit holding it in God's love. The point of such a meditation is to make space within the situation for God's love to be. In 'sitting with' such a situation, painful or sad, we come to recognise the love of God that is at work on our lives. The suggestions for Mirror reflections can also be used for Exercise reflections but wouldn't be advised for Driving Prayer as often some degree of emotion or distraction might rise in such prayer.

This Sunday's Mirror Meditation

Rest in the love of your God.

When you are at rest, affirm your trust in God’s love to you.

Slowly pray your way through the ‘Our Father’.

Rest in the love of your God.

Suggestions for the Programme

The elements of the programme can be used in any way that helps your prayer. The suggestions below are fairly simple ways of using this programme.


Become conscious of your God
Hymn or poem
Reading of Gospel text
Mulling over a reflection
Our Father


Become conscious of your God
Reading of Gospel text and reflection
Our Father


Staff Prayer
The programme can also be used for Staff Prayer. How you may put together such a prayer would be influenced largely by the size and dynamics of your staff. For example, a smaller staff group might be able to use discussion of a movie as a way of exploring the meaning of a Gospel.

A painting illustrating the Gospel could be displayed on an interactive board
Reading of the Gospel
Invitation for share reflections
Our Father

Another Example
Reading of part of the Gospel
One or two of the mulling themes
Time for reflection
Our Father

  • Shepherd me O God by Marty Haugen.
  • Trinity Song by Frank Anderson.
  • Standing in the Need of Prayer Afro-American Spiritual, compiled by Moses Hogan.
  • On Eagles Wings by Frank Anderson.