On seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, the first reading is from the Book of Genesis (18:20-32). Abraham, the Father of the Jewish people and Muslims alike, had a great relationship with the Lord Himself. Abraham was not asking for personal favors but for the life of the people of Sodom and Gomorrah where his nephew, Lot, and his family lived. These two cities had become synonymous with evil and depravity of every kind. In the reading, Abraham questions God six times about the parameters of divine justice, and six times God appears to adjust them. God heard and responded to Abraham's plea. The key ingredients in this story are Abraham's faith and persistence.
The Second Reading is from St. Paul's Letter to the Colossians (2:12-14). Stressing the gratuitous nature of baptismal grace, Saint Paul emphasizes the necessary role of Christ and the Cross in the economy of salvation. In the waters of Baptism, believers share in this redeeming work of Christ. Jesus takes us down into the tomb of death, washing us totally of sin, and raises us up to new life in him. In Baptism, we become a new creation. In response, we would hopefully desire to struggle daily to remain clean, free, forgiven and faithful.
The Gospel Reading is from the Gospel of St Luke (11:1-13). Here we have the apostles asking Jesus to teach them how to pray. Jesus gives the apostles Luke's version of the Our Father, a shorter and simpler form than in Matthew's gospel. Jesus then assures the apostles that God, as Father, hears all prayers and cannot refuse anyone when prayers come to Him in faith and sincerity and are in accordance with the divine Plan.