Prayer should be praise as well as petition

BRIDGEPORT— When the Lord goes off to pray by himself after healing the sick, his example challenges us to deepen our own prayer life, said Bishop Frank J. Caggiano in the homily for his online Mass for Fifth Sunday in Ordinary time.

The bishop said that in addition to petitioning God’s help for ourselves and asking his intercession for those we love, our prayer must also be rooted in adoration and gratitude.

In his homily from the Catholic Center chapel, the bishop said we should pray “with hearts and minds open to what he will tell us and reveal to us. Prayer is all about deepening the relationship we have with him, a relationship he has offered and established first.”

He began his homily by noting that the passage in the Gospel of Mark, 1:29-39, (“He cured many who were sick with various diseases) depicts “a familiar episode repeated over in over in the Lord’s earthly ministry,” when Jesus heals people and then retreats to personal prayer.
The bishop said our Lord’s pattern of withdrawing to personal prayer teaches us that “prayer is responding to the presence God has in our life—He is already present to you and me and we have a need to respond personally and as a community.”
The people of Galilee came forward and asked for healing because they responded to the great power and authority within him, and Jesus responded graciously to them, the bishop said.

“All of us in our relationship with the Lord have been like the people of the village,” he said, “but the Church reminds us that to establish and deepen our relationship with God, there are more things, postures and dispositions to our prayer than just asking for ourselves and those we love.”

“As we enter into the presence of God , our hearts should be moved to simply adore him, worship him, acknowledge his presence as a gift, and praise him as the source of all of our blessings.”

Describing the psalms as prayers of thanksgiving, adoration and worship, the bishop said they are the perfect prayer if we want to form a relationship of praise and wonder with Our Father in heaven.

With Lent just a week and a half away, we should “open our hearts and broaden our prayer,” the bishop said.

“Gratitude is the movement of the heart of every disciple,” he said, adding that a true prayer life should always move our hearts toward thanksgiving.

Before giving the final blessing, the bishop announced that he will release a pastoral letter to the diocese on Ash Wednesday, which will offer a vision of how the diocese can move forward in renewal “as we begin to dare hope that the pandemic will be behind us by the end of the year.”

The bishop said his pastoral letter and other measures in the coming months will be a call to welcome the faithful back to full and active participation in the life of the Church as the pandemic subsides, and also ask those who left the church “to take a second look and come home with you and me, and come home with the Lord.”

The Bishop’s Sunday Mass is released online every Sunday morning at 8 a.m. and available for replay throughout the day. To view the Bishop’s Sunday Mass, recorded and published weekly, click this link or visit the YouTube Mass Playlist. You are invited to join Bishop Caggiano for the Sunday Family Rosary every Sunday at 7:30 p.m. visit: