This Sunday’s Music: XVII Sunday of Ordinary Time

“Our Father, which art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy Name…” Yes, we all know these famous words as the “Lord’s Prayer” (or the “Pater Noster” in Latin). Today, we learn to take all our needs to our good and loving Father because we are His children and upon us is His limitless mercy.

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In our First Reading, we see Abraham bringing his needs, his prayers, before the LORD, and in the Epistle, St. Paul tells us: “And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath He quickened together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses” (Colossians‬ ‭2:13‬). Today we sing this classic hymn by Joseph Medlicott Scriven, What a Friend We Have in Jesus. How kind and merciful is our God, to whom we take “everything in prayer” and who bears all our sins and griefs! What a privilege it is that we have a Father who loves us so that He is always ready to hear us… even in the darkest hour. “O, what peace we often forfeit! / O, what needless pain we bear, / All because we do not carry / Ev’rything to God in prayer”.


Again this week, we are using one of the “common Psalms” permitted by Mother Church, and it is no less appropriate to today’s readings than the Psalm appointed by the Lectionary. Our Old Testament lesson presents the boundless mercy of the LORD Jehovah when Abraham makes his pleas on behalf of Sodom. “And [Abraham] said, Oh let not the LORD be angry, and I will speak yet but this once: Peradventure ten shall be found there. And He said, I will not destroy it for ten's sake” (Genesis‬ ‭18:32‬). Even unto a city of such legendary wickedness the LORD shows mercy for the sake of those faithful few.


“LORD, You are good, and Your mercy endureth forever” we sing in this lively song by Israel Houghton & New Breed. Lift up your voices, Zion, and praise your infinitely good God, who shows mercy unto Sodom, who provides when we seek. We were “buried with Him in baptism, wherein also [w]e are risen with Him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised Him from the dead” (Colossians‬ ‭2:12‬). Let the power of God work its goodness in you!


“He’s opened doors for me, / Doors that I just couldn’t see. / O, taste and see the goodness of the LORD”. Today we sing this empowering refrain from Kenneth W. Louis’ bright setting of Psalm 34. Our Master and Teacher speaks to us powerfully in our Gospel reading: “And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened” Luke‬ ‭11:9-10‬). We are His children, and as our Father, He cares for us, His children, providing when we need Him most. Taste and see how He is good.


In today’s Gospel verse, we hear: “For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father” (Romans‬ ‭8:15‬). And Jesus, in today’s Gospel reading from Luke 11:1-13, teaches us to pray, calling upon “our Father, which art in heaven”. It is in our belonging to Him that we cry out to our heavenly Father using this casual term in Aramaic (akin to “dad” in English): Abba. Let’s use the repetitious simplicity of this song by Jonathan David Helser to realise just how much our Father loves us.


In this classic African-American spiritual, we recall the majesty and mercy of “our Father, which art in heaven” (Luke 11:2). In the air over our heads, we hear music, we hear singing, we see Jesus, and we know that “there must be a God somewhere”. Clap those hands, stomp those feet and lift every voice in praise!