October 10, 2019 – Thursday 27th Week in Ordinary Time
A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Luke (11:5-13)
Jesus said to his disciples:
“Suppose one of you has a friend
to whom he goes at midnight and says,
‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread,
for a friend of mine has arrived at my house from a journey
and I have nothing to offer him,’
and he says in reply from within,
‘Do not bother me; the door has already been locked
and my children and I are already in bed.
I cannot get up to give you anything.’
I tell you, if he does not get up to give him the loaves
because of their friendship,
he will get up to give him whatever he needs
because of his persistence.
“And I tell you, ask and you will receive;
seek and you will find;
knock and the door will be opened to you.
For everyone who asks, receives;
and the one who seeks, finds;
and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
What father among you would hand his son a snake
when he asks for a fish?
Or hand him a scorpion when he asks for an egg?
If you then, who are wicked,
know how to give good gifts to your children,
how much more will the Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit
to those who ask him?”
I have heard from many parents how they expressed the attitudes of their young children. Children seemed to get easily what they want compared to children 20 or more years ago. Parents are somehow forced to give what their children are demanding because of their insistence. When a child would not be granted what he/she wants, the child throws a tantrum in front of many people that most of the times, would prompt a parent to give in.
This is a common sight in malls, in our churches, restaurants and other public places. Children would easily get what they want because of their persistence. However, such attitude is not completely to be praised as giving in easily to children may give a false reality about life. Nevertheless, the persistence of a child reminds us of the Gospel reading we have heard today.
Jesus tells a parable to his disciples that basically highlights the attitude of persistence in prayer.
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For the one who asks receives, and the one who searches finds, and to him who knocks the door will be opened.”
Jesus tells us of the generosity of the Father and of His availability for us. It signifies that God wants to give what is best for us and what is wonderful for us. Yet, what Jesus tells us should not be misunderstood also. We might think that we can just ask anything we want according to our selfish desires.
Thus, ask the Lord but we can only ask the Lord once we know what we desire. Hence, name what you desire. Name your problems to be solved. Acknowledge your concerns and recognize your issues. Only then, that we will be able to allow God to work in us.
True prayer keeps us away from our selfishness but brings us closer into God. This means that this relationship found in our prayer is a process of letting go of ourselves and letting God to work in us. This can be possible when we also learn to ask, to seek and to knock. This is an invitation for us to grow in confidence with God despite the many uncertainties that we may face in life, whether in our relationships, in our personal struggles, in our work and in any endeavor we are in at the moment.
Moreover, Jesus would like to remind us that in these many areas of our life they also require more than asking. We too are in need to seek. This means that prayer is also a form of searching what is hidden or what remains undiscovered in us. To pray is not about searching God but to seek ourselves and to let God find us. Thus, seek for a deeper insight, seek for understanding and wisdom because God answers us not outside of us but within our own context, experiences and relationships.
After such understanding and unfolding of mysteries in our life, we also want to move on, to go forward to where God is leading us. This requires now the attitude of knocking, which means seeking entrance, to enter into it. We might have realized that we have been so hurt by a loved one or a friend who betrayed us. And the pain that we have experienced made us inaccessible, scared and resistant to forgiveness. Now, Jesus tells us to knock, to look for an opportunity to take the risk of entering. Indeed, knocking a door is a risk because knocking here does not only mean one knock but a persistent knock repeated many times until the door opens for reconciliation and peace.
The Lord in his mercy wants us to exercise our freedom, that we can make a choice for ourselves. To knock God’s door will lead us to many opportunities for growth, for peace and freedom. Jesus assures us that as we come before God to boldly and persistently knock, it shall be opened to us. God would willingly and lovingly open his door of forgiveness and affection to embrace us and to welcome us.
In this way, we become children who are transformed into the likeness of Jesus, who will not throw tantrums when we do not get what we want just for our selfish reasons, but children who are fully aware that God’s desire for us is far better than our own. Hinaut pa.
Jom Baring, CSsR