Our Great Prayer

28th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Deacon Dick Kostner

Want to get to heaven? Jesus says obey the Commandments, the two greatest being love God with all your heart, soul and mind and the second, love your neighbor as yourself. Before Jesus returned to the Father he gave his followers a third commandment: “Love as I have loved you!” Love requires intimacy. It requires knowing someone’s very make up and for us humans, their faults and deficiencies and yes acceptance of those deficiencies because of their God given right of free will. It is not an easy task when you realize that people we love are going down the wrong road which will lead them to problems and maybe even death. True love requires we accept their right of choice even if its wrong our only real weapon against a bad choice being made by someone we love, is “Prayer.”

Prayer allows us to be intimate with both God and intimacy with others who we are praying for. I believe it was St. Paul who said we need to be in constant prayer to God 24/7. It shows God that we are obeying His two great commandments and Jesus’ third commandment, “Love as I have loved you.” So our next challenge is to learn how to pray every awaking hour of every day to God for our challenges and for help and guidance for those we love. What are the words of prayer? In today’s Gospel Jesus gives us a supernatural and a kind of magical word of prayer. It is easy to remember and it can transform and heal. This word of Prayer will always be heard by God and responded to by God and the Body of Christ. It is simple but bares the power of God, the word is “THANKS.”

You folks may not know this but your deacon is not very mechanically gifted. When I attempt to fix something it many times is not successful and can also result in a repair job at the doctor’s office and maybe even a new tattoo not made with ink but rather stitch’s. I can remember working at one of my rentals one morning and while trying to drive a stake into the hard ground with a hammer I missed the stake I was driving and smashed the web between my thumb and finger. Blood was all over but I was lucky to be across the street from Dr. Rosenbrook’s house and I ran to him who proceeded to take me into his kitchen and clean and stitch my wound. With age comes wisdom and now before attempting to do even a simple task I pray for safety and upon completing the task always say the prayer of thanks to God for a safe completion of that task. That pretty much covers hourly prayers for my weekend “Honey-do” projects.

Our Gospel today has Jesus instructing his readers that a “thank you” is the greatest gift we can give to God for help he provides for his faith followers. Many times we get so caught up in having been answered by God with his gifts that we forget to give thanks, for his help and miracles. Its a quick prayer but a very important prayer. When we forget to give thanks during the week God gives us another chance to say “Thanks” on Sunday by celebrating the Eucharist with the Body of Christ. “Eucharist” (in Greek) means “giving thanks.” It’s a time for us to gather as the family of God and reflect upon the grace gifts we have received the previous week. The little miracles society calls coincidences. Little things that show up out of no where, and which are many times opposed to the laws of nature that make us realize the supernatural presence of God within our lives, within our very being and existence.

Let me share with you my last encounter with the power and presence of God and the supernatural. I recently did a funeral service for a gentleman who had just died who had lived his life with a mental illness and who had been dependent on his family and friends his whole life. His name is Robbie. I did not personally know Robbie and learned about his life when his Aunt said a few words before we ended the Service. She told about a man who loved his family very much as well as the people who cared for him at the facility he lived in. She talked about how one of the caretakers would take him to Mass every Sunday and how thankful he was to have so many people who cared for him. She told the story about how Robbie and his siblings had taken him to an outdoor concert one summer day and how it began to rain at its conclusion and how they held hands running and following one of his brothers who had a flashlight trying to find their car and how they all laughed and so enjoyed the event, even though they were soaking wet when they finally found their car. After her comments I told the family and friends of Robbie that I now knew who to blame for the thunderstorm we were experiencing at the time Robbie’s funeral service. They laughed and thought I was just cracking a joke but I had a feeling that I had just done another funeral service for a saint I did not even know until that day.

As Matt (the funeral director) and I drove to the cemetery in Cornell with the crowd of family and friends of Robbie following us, Matt commented how wet it was going to be to do the committal service and I made the comment, “That will be up to Robbie!” He gave me a funny look and said he had a bunch of umbrellas in his car. When we arrived at the cemetery it was still raining and Matt told me to sit in the car until the casket was placed. I wondered if I had drawn the wrong conclusion as I held my book close to me as I went to the crowd to begin the service. I opened my book to begin and three drops of rain fell on it and then the rain stopped completely. I grinned and said to myself, “thanks Rob.” After the prayers I told the crowd that I believe Robbie was telling them that he was alright and thanked them for their attendance. I don’t think they realized that they had just experienced the spiritual presence of their brother as one of God’s chosen. (And I did say “Thank you Lord” for this experience!)

One Response to “Our Great Prayer”

  1. pussywillowpress Says:

    I love God’s sense of humor :)!

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