Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time


I think that one of Jesus’ disciples was conscious in himself of human weakness, which falls short of knowing how we ought to pray.… Are we then to conclude that a man who was brought up in the instruction of the law, who heard the words of the prophets and did not fail to attend the synagogue, did not know how to pray until he saw the Lord praying “in a certain place”? It would certainly be foolish to say this. The disciple prayed according to the customs of the Jews, but he saw that he needed better knowledge about the subject of prayer.1


What, therefore, is the meaning of “hallowed be your name”?…
When it is our settled conviction and belief that he who by nature is God over all is Holy of the Holies, we confess his glory and supreme majesty. We then receive his fear into our mind and lead upright and blameless lives. By this we become holy ourselves, and we may be able to be near unto the holy God.… The prayer is, therefore, “May your name be kept holy in us, in our minds and wills.” This is the significance of the word hallowed. If a person says, “Our Father, hallowed be your name,” he is not requesting any addition to be made to God’s holiness. He rather asks that he may possess such a mind and faith to feel that his name is honorable and holy. The act is the source of life and the cause of every blessing. How must being this influenced by God be worthy of the highest estimation and useful for the salvation of the soul?2


With “daily” the Evangelist shows that without this bread we cannot live a spiritual life for even a day. When he says “this day,” he shows that the bread must be eaten each day. It will not be enough to have eaten yesterday unless we eat similarly today. May our daily poverty encourage us to pour out this prayer at all times, for there is no day on which it is unnecessary for us to eat this bread to strengthen the heart of the person within us.3


He requires his disciples to be gentle and slow to anger, so that they may be able to say blamelessly in their prayers, “Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive every one that is indebted unto us.” … He first commands them to ask forgiveness of the sins they commit and then to confess that they entirely forgive others. If I may say so, they ask God to imitate the patience that they practice. The same gentleness that they show to their fellow servants, they pray that they may receive in equal measure from God, who gives justly, and knows how to show mercy to everyone.…
The Savior of all and Lord with good reason did not conclude this clause of the prayer at this point but commanded us to add, “For we also ourselves have forgiven every one who is indebted to us.” This is fitting to say only for those who have chosen a virtuous life and are practicing without carelessness “the will of God” that, as Scripture says, “is good and acceptable and perfect.” …
We must ask God for the forgiveness of the sins that we have committed. First, we must have forgiven whoever has offended us in anything. This is if their sin is against us and not against the glory of the supreme God. We are not masters over such actions but only over those that have been committed against ourselves. By forgiving the brothers what they do to us, we will then certainly find Christ, the Savior of all, gentle and ready to show us mercy.4


Of those three things that the apostle commends, faith is either signified by the fish, because of the water of baptism, or because it remains unharmed by the waves of this world. The Serpent is opposed to it, because it craftily and deceitfully persuaded man not to believe in God. The egg symbolizes hope, because the chick is not yet alive but will be; it is not yet seen but is hoped. “Hope that is seen is not hope.” The scorpion is opposed to hope, because whoever hopes for eternal life forgets the things that are behind and reaches out to those that are before. It is dangerous for him to look backward, and he is on guard against the rear of the scorpion, which has a poisoned dart in its tail. Bread symbolizes love, because “the greatest of these is love,” and among foods, bread certainly surpasses all others in value. The stone is opposed to it because the stonehearted cast out love. It may be that these gifts signify something more appropriate, yet he who knows how to give good gifts to his children urges us to ask, seek and knock.5


Circumcision is no longer performed with a knife, Paul says, but in Christ himself; for no human hand circumcises … but the Spirit. The Spirit circumcises the whole man, not simply a part.… When and where? In baptism. And what Paul calls circumcision, he again calls burial.… But it is not burial only: for notice what he says, “Wherein you were also raised with him, through faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead.”6


Sin being overcome is said to be put to death; the cross is not the death of the Savior, but of sin.7



  1. ON PRAYER 2.4.  Just, A. A. (Ed.). (2005). Luke (p. 185). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  2. COMMENTARY ON LUKE, HOMILY 72.  Just, A. A. (Ed.). (2005). Luke (p. 186). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  3. CONFERENCE 9.21.  Just, A. A. (Ed.). (2005). Luke (p. 187). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  4. COMMENTARY ON LUKE, HOMILY 76.  Just, A. A. (Ed.). (2005). Luke (p. 188). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  5. LETTER 130.  Just, A. A. (Ed.). (2005). Luke (p. 190). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  6. HOMILIES ON COLOSSIANS 6.  Gorday, P. (Ed.). (2000). Colossians, 1–2 Thessalonians, 1–2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon (pp. 31–32). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  7. Commentary on the Letter to the Colossians. Gorday, P. (Ed.). (2000). Colossians, 1–2 Thessalonians, 1–2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon (p. 34). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
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