Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Kingdom Come

It's no coincidence that today's Gospel is Jesus teaching us how to pray right after we saw the harried Martha "busy with much ministering." Luke is making the point that ministry of any kind needs to come from (and remain supported by) prayer. But what is the secret to prayer? I was surprised to notice it in the first reading, the tail end of the story of Jonah.
Jonah is peeved with God for having mercy on the wicked (but repentant) city of Nineveh. And God does something strange. Instead of reproaching Jonah with a divine "and who do you think you are?" (as we see in the book of Job), God reveals his heart: "Should I not be concerned over that great city in which there are over 120,000 children under the age of seven--and uncounted numbers of cattle, too?"
Like so many fire and brimstone preachers after him, Jonah can see the wickedness, but he can't see all the rest that God sees--"the beasts and the children," as the old song went. God invites Jonah to see with divine eyes.
Isn't that the mystery of prayer?

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