A Graduate School of Theology and Ministry

17th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C

July 24, 2022

Lectionary 111:

Gen 18:20-32 [A theological reflection on divine justice]

Ps 138:1-2, 2-3, 6-7, 7-8 [Lord, on the day I called for help, you answered me]

Col 2:12-14 [The waters of baptism raise believers to new life]

Luke 11:1-13 [Jesus teaches his disciples how to pray]


Possible preaching themes:

  • The waters of Baptism offer the promise of new life. St. Paul speaks in a spiritual sense of the experience of being baptized as a dying that offers the gift of new life. It is Jesus who offers life to his followers. In relationship with Jesus, and through Baptism, forgiveness is offered.


  • God hears the cries of God’s people and God has the power to answer one’s prayers. Voicing one’s needs to God is an act of faith, an act of trusting that God in fact has the capacity to answer prayer. It is a source of rejoicing when one’s call for help in answered, and it can be source of bewilderment when the response from God is offered in an unexpected way.


  • As a teacher, Jesus offers the disciples a form of prayer that has been passed on through the generations. For Christians today, the instruction on how to pray that Jesus offered more than 2,000 years ago has become a foundational way of praising God, seeking God’s transformative power, and asking for the strength needed to fulfill God’s will for one’s life.


Possible Scientific resources




Preaching outline on God always hears us (taking the second path, above)


  • Many of us live in environments that are filled with plenty of sound
    • The sounds of
      • Children playing, laughing, crying, screaming
      • Streets filled with hustle and bustle
      • Wildernesses of gentle breezes, pouring rains, deafening silence
      • Conversations with friends, arguments with loved ones, passionate positions being shared
      • Prayers being offered, praises sung to God, laments from the heart
    • There are times when what we say seems to go unheard, no matter how loud we might be
      • Injustices that render too many voiceless in communities
      • Pleas to loved ones expressing our deepest desires
      • Conversations with God that make us wonder if God is actually listening


  • Do we hear or are we really listening?
    • https://www.verywellmind.com/hearing-vs-listening-what-s-the-difference-5196734
    • Hearing and listening are not the same thing
      • Hearing is passive, involuntary, and something that doesn’t require a whole lot of effort
      • Listening is a choice, something that requires attention, an action that requires us to make sense of the sounds, the words, that reverberate within our minds and hearts 
    • As social beings we want to be listened to, and to live fully and authentically 
    • In community active listening is necessary 


  • How and what we hear is complex


  • God both hears and listens
    • The Psalmist says (Ps 138): “I will give thanks to you, O LORD, with all my heart, for you have heard the words of my mouth”; “When I called you answered me”
    • God listens to the words that come forth from our mouths, our hearts, our souls
    • God hears not just what we voice, God listens to the deeper desires that sometimes we do not have the words to express
      • God listens to the lament
      • God listens to the pain
      • God listens to the joy
      • God listens to the need


  • We are called to listen as God listens
    • With God, it’s not about our loudness—it’s about the desires of our hearts
    • God actively listens to what we express, not out of obligation but instead out of true love
    • Like God, we are called to hear the voices of our sisters and brothers by listening to what those around us are trying to express
    • We listen actively, with open hearts and minds
    • We listen so that we can truly hear the deeper desires of those near and far from us
    • Our listening allows us to be the help for those in need of answers, support, care
    • Actively listening that leads to genuine concern makes God present to what we and others voice
    • The effect of being listened to is the feeling that we are never alone!

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