June 1, 2019 – Saturday of the 6th Week of Easter
Jn 16: 23-28
“Until now you have not asked anything in my name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete.” – Jn 16:24
What is it that we usually ask and pray? Good health and wealth? Fulfillment of our hopes and dreams? Love life and relationships? For work and business? For achievements and successes? For our personal concerns and problems?
Jesus told his disciples to “ask anything in my name and you will receive.” What does it really mean? Does Jesus mean that we can just ask anything we want? Does it mean that I can also ask Jesus to give me a lifetime premium subscription on Netflix and unlimited supply of popcorn? Or can I also ask a top managerial position in the company even though I do not have the qualification and expect that it will surely be given to me?
Some of my friends have told me that there were times in their life that they felt hurt because God did not grant their wishes. They had been praying and attended faithfully masses and novenas so that their prayers will be granted. Yet, at the end, prayers were unanswered. They were hurt and thought that God seemed to be so unfair.
However, we might not be aware that what we are praying could be filled with selfish reasons. Our prayers might be more on ourselves. Our prayers might be more focused on what “I shall have and on what I can gain.” Then, our prayer remains self-centered.
Jesus asks us to ask “in his name.” It means that in our prayer we will not forget Jesus, we will not forget his desire for us and his will for us. Yes, our prayer might be more on “our wants,” rather than on God’s desire for us.
Jesus did not say to just ask anything because Jesus, then, would merely be a magician or a genie in a bottle, but to ask anything in his name. Our prayer, then, includes a discernment of God’s will for us and of God’s desire for us.
The disciples had actually already prayed. They had surely asked God many things already. However, their prayers were also filled with their own desires and personal wants. That is why Jesus said, “until now you have not asked anything in my name…” Their selfish prayers and requests to God did not make them joyful and contented. They have remained insecure and lacking in faith because they did not ask in Jesus’ name.
Instead of praying – “this is what I want and wish Lord,” ask and pray rather first in this way, “what is your desire for me Lord?” Only then that we will be able to get away from our selfish tendencies and intentions because we shift our focus from ourselves to God – from praying that comes only from personal wants to praying in his name.
Surely, God will never say no to a sincere heart that seeks His desire. Jesus will surely answer our prayers when our hearts and minds too are one with him. Hinaut pa.
Jom Baring, CSsR