19th Sunday in Ordinary Time -August 13th, 2017

     When I was in high school I spend my summers as a lifeguard.  One summer I was a lifeguard at Lake St. Louis.  I guarded the pool there, but also a portion of the lake.  Most days were pretty tranquil and without incident;  yet, not on this particular day.

     The reason why I tell you about this experience of mine is that we just heard about St. Peter who thought he was drowning and who called out to Jesus:  "Lord, save me!"  In both of these incidences there is a point I would like to make:  Both St. Peter and the young man that I saved cried out for help in only a few words.  Our prayers were brief and to the point. You know it is interesting to note how many have asked Christ for favors in just a few words.  It gives you and I the reminder that we can do the same.  In the Gospel, we have all heard the Disciples asking Jesus what to do when the crowd had nothing to eat.  Next Sunday we will hear the mother of a possessed girl cry out:  "Lord, help me!"  Today we hear Peter cry, "Lord, save me!"  "Lord, have pity on my son!"  was the plea of the father whose son was possessed.  Even when they had a prayerful question they expressed it briefly:  "Good Master, what good work should I do to have eternal life?' asks the rich man.  Remember the short prayer of the blind man: "Lord, that I may see!"  Really, even the Our Father is made up of a number of brief prayers:  "Thy will be done...give us this day our daily bread....forgive us our sins."

     We would all do well to model some of our prayers after these brief prayers of those who talked to Jesus on this earth-not that we would ever neglect the formal official prayers of the Church or of our upbringing.  Yet, because often we do not have time or the mental energy to pray a longer prayer of our own, these shorter prayers can be offered at any time and any place.  Try it at the dinner table.  Instead of the usual meal prayer, perhaps simple say loudly, "Thank you, Lord, for this food!"  As we back out of our garage:  "Lord, give me a safe journey."  After a close call on the highway:  "Thank you, Lord, for saving us from that potential accident!"

     You have heard it suggested that we should always count to ten before speaking an angry word.  Here's a better idea in half the words: "Lord, help me to be patient!"

     The Eucharistic prayers can be divided into many short pleas to Almighty God.Pick our one or another and perhaps emphasize that prayer in every Holy Mass you attend.  Above all, try these brief prayers outside of Mass.  Talk to Jesus in your own words, in a few words.  He is listening.  He will hear you because He loves you.  He proved that when He died for you.  

     At this Mass today, Jesus will once more offer His life for you and me on this altar of sacrifice.  As I raise the Host and it becomes Our Lord's Body do not forget to offer a brief prayer of thanks and praise and gratitude to Him.  As I raise the Chalice of our Lord's Blood, offer it in union with all the Masses offered throughout the world for the forgiveness of sins.

     Prayer does not have to be long to be heard, yet if said from the heart it goes a long way and pierces the heavens.  Something to think and pray about, God Bless You!