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Third Sunday after Trinity
excerpt from
Volume 4: Trinity Sunday to the Twelfth Sunday After Trinity 
Daily Reading on the Lectionary of the Book of Common Prayer 
by W. J. Hankey, D. P. Curry, J.A. Matheson, B.L. Craig, R. U. Smith, and G. W. Thorne
Revised by D. P. Curry, P. W. Harris, and B. M. Large 
St. Peter Publications Inc. Charlottetown, PEI, Canada, 1999.
Reprinted with permission of the publisher.
O Lord, we beseech thee mercifully to hear us; and grant that we, to whom thou hast given an hearty desire to pray, may by thy mighty aid be defended and comforted in all dangers and adversities; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen. 

We begin today’s Collect by begging God to hear us and throwing ourselves on God’s mercy: “O Lord, we beseech thee mercifully to hear us.”  But even this prayer that God would mercifully hear us is not our prayer.  We did not initiate this prayer, but it is God himself through his Spirit, who gives us the desire to pray.  As we reflect upon this, we are less tempted to condemn others for their seeming unfaithfulness for we realize that “there, but for the grace of God, go I”.  Prayer begins and ends with God—our role is to be a willing servant who desires God to use us to his glory.  St. Augustine, speaking of the centrality of Jesus Christ in all prayer, said: “Christ prays for us as a priest, prays in us as our Head, is prayed to, by us, as our God. Let us recognize, therefore, our voices in him, and his voices in us.”  Our petition is that we “may by thy mighty aid be defended and comforted in all dangers and adversities”.  Note that we pray not that God shall keep us from danger, but keep us in our dangers and adversities.  Whatever ills and evils may befall us, we know that God can make good come of any situation, if we offer it to him.  This is the meaning of Psalm 9: “There shall no evil happen unto thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.”  Bishop Lancelot Andrewes (1555-1626) points out how the experience of the comfort of God serves to strengthen us to better withstand our “dangers and adversities”:  “Comfort is it by which, in the midst of our sorrows, we are comforted, that is, strengthened, and made the better able to bear them all out.” 

The Epistle for today reminds us that a holy life is only possible through grace, and that grace only comes to the humble (those who know their own weakness, and trust in Christ) and to those who do not give up the effort to resist temptation. 

The Gospel for today is two parables, which together form a lesson on grace.  God’s grace is ready to pour into each one of us, however lowly and outcast, however far from God we may be.  God is always ready to save us and sanctify us with his grace, regardless of how sinful we may be and how long we may take to open up to him.