10.12.17 Thurs. wk. 27 – O.T. – (I)
1st Rdg . Malachi 3: 13 – 20b
Gospel – Luke 11: 5 – 13
And he said to them, “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?” The Gospel of the Lord.
Fr. Mike Murphy _______________
“Ask and you shall receive; seek and you shall find; knock and it will be opened to you.” The invitation of †Jesus is very clear to us in the Scriptures today. He wants us to approach Him, He wants us to converse with Him. He wants a relationship with us, that’s what the Lord wants. Like every relationship, a relationship with the Lord requires an exchange – listening and speaking – listening and speaking.
We all approach God in our own way. Some approach God like we’re going to Mr. Harris’s Office (speaking to students) the principal’s office. You go approaching God with fear, with guilt, wondering what your punishment will be. Some people relate to God as if God is a subordinate; demanding that God do this or that, expecting God to do our bidding, and that is our relationship with Him. And some relate to God as a negotiator, bargaining with God in our prayer – ‘quid pro quo,’ Lord, I’ll do that for you but you’ve got to do this for me. Our approach to God may be in need of adjustment for many of us. And the Scriptures today, reveal something that might help us in our prayers, in approaching the Lord, in the listening and speaking to God.
In the prophecy of Malachi we heard this: “Those who feared the Lord spoke with one another, and the Lord listened attentively.” Here we witness a ‘give and take’ relationship. It is not based on fear, it is not based on demanding, it is not a negotiation, but it is like two people who want to do what is right and just, what is a loving and compassionate. God’s will, must always be our will and that’s how we begin prayer. †Jesus taught us that in the Lord’s Prayer, as we heard yesterday in Luke’s Gospel: “Thy will be done, Thy Kingdom come.” But there maybe more than one way to accomplish God’s will.
In the creation story in Genesis, God tells man and woman to: “Subdue the earth.” We are co- creators with God. He has given us all this authority and power as His creatures, as His co-creators, to subdue the earth to make His creation work. The Lord gives us a say in how salvation history is to unfold, we have a part in that. He gives us free will and this is why prayer is a dialogue. God does listen to our prayer and we must not be afraid to approach God. The Lord is listening. He will not impose His will upon us, but He wants us to see the world as He sees the world – full of love, mercy and compassion. And if our prayer has this as its goal, God will always listen to us. When our will is in union with God’s will, this is what brings about miracles and answered prayers.
My own relationship with the Lord has gone through all kinds of changes in my lifetime. In fear, I have often approached the Lord as if I were walking into the principal’s office. I have often thought of God as: ‘The great and wonderful Oz.’ (You know from the Wizard of Oz, terrified. Who is that man behind that curtain?) I have bargained with God; I have demanded of God, at times. But none of these approaches ever brought me – ‘peace in my prayer.’ They never brought me closer to God; they never enriched my prayer. I’ve learned to see the Lord as a loving Father who shows me – imagine – shows me the utmost respect by listening to me. After all, He created me, He put a brain in my head, He put His Spirit in my heart, so sometimes I come up with some good suggestions and sometimes He does listen to me. He listens to all of us, like †Jesus said: “Ask, seek and find.” The Lord is a close friend to me, now. He does listen to my point of view. He knows me better than I know myself, and He is ‘a companion along the way’ for me. The Lord has shown that He trusts me to accomplish His will. Even when I make bad choices at times, He still continues to trust me, to listen to me and He answers my prayers. Regarding my suggestions, He sometimes says: “Well, maybe that will work out for you.”
So here is the answer to your prayer. I have learned to trust God because: “He will not hand me scorpion when I ask for a egg. Listen to the Lord. Speak to the Lord in prayer from your heart. Let fear be replaced by loving respect. Let demand be turned to trust. Then the Lord will walk with you as a companion along the way to fullness of life.
In the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.