A prayer for the twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time.

God.

We come to you and ask that your kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.

It sounds noble.

Then we read words from James that “the royal law found in scripture” is to “love our neighbor as ourselves.”

That sounds okay for those of us who have carefully chosen our neighborhoods, who have strategically chosen our schools, who have found a church that is comfortable to our way of thinking and living, who have selected teams and clubs and groups appropriate to our tastes and aspirations.

Then we know that when you were asked to clarify exactly who our neighbor is, you told about a man who reached out to a beaten up man who was broke and broken and not of his culture.

Which doesn’t sound comfortable at all, if the beaten-up man is a woman who is broke because her life is in another country and her body is here, if the culture is too different, or too close, to ours, if we cannot choose but are, actually, chosen by the ways our paths suddenly cross.

God.

We want to say we love you.
We want to do what we want to do.

But Jesus, you actually loved your neighbors. The people no one would touch you touched. The people no one would talk to you talked with. The people no one cared for you died for.

And so, when we ask your kingdom to come on earth the way it is in heaven and your will to be done on earth the way it is in heaven, I guess that we are asking you for a whole new way to think and live.

And that is what we do today. Offer ourselves and to ask for your self.

Through Christ our Lord we ask.

Amen

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