Oct 10 2019 Reflection
Thursday 10 October 2019
First Reading: MAL 3:13-20B
Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.
PS 1:1-2, 3, 4 AND 6
Gospel Reading: LK 11:5-13
Today’s Note: Thursday of the Twenty-Seventh Week in Ordinary Time
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?”
What can we expect from God, especially when we recognize that he doesn’t owe us anything and that we don’t deserve his grace and favor? Jesus used the illustration of a late-night traveler to teach his listeners an important lesson about how God treats us in contrast to the kind of treatment we might expect from our neighbors.
The rule of hospitality in biblical times required the cooperation of the entire community in entertaining an unexpected or late-night guest. Whether the guest was hungry or not, a meal would be served. In a small village it would be easy to know who had baked bread that day. Bread was essential for a meal because it served as a utensil for dipping and eating from the common dishes. Asking for bread from one’s neighbor was both a common occurrence and an expected favor. To refuse to give bread would bring shame and dishonor because it was a sign of in-hospitality – showing a lack of friendship and generosity.
God awakens us from sleep that we may ask and receive
If a neighbor can be imposed upon and coerced into giving bread in the middle of the night, how much more hospitable is God, who, no matter what the circumstances, is generous and ready to give us what we need. Augustine of Hippo reminds us that “God, who does not sleep and who awakens us from sleep that we may ask, gives much more graciously.”
Ask, seek, knock – and it will be given
When you are in need who do you turn to for help? Jesus tells us that God is always ready to answer those who seek him and call upon him with expectant trust in his mercy and kindness. Jesus states very clearly and simply what we must do: Ask, seek, knock. God our heavenly Father waits upon us. Like a table waiter or friend who comes in the middle of the night, he is always ready to hear our plea and to give us what we need. Do you ask the Father with expectant faith and confident trust in his goodness? Do you seek his guidance and help in your time of need? Do you knock with persistence at his door of mercy and favor? If we treat our heavenly Father with indifference or neglect to ask with confident trust, we may miss the opportunity we have been given to receive his grace and favor and merciful help.
God gives more than we can ask or expect
In conclusion Jesus makes a startling claim: How much more will the heavenly Father give! The Lord is ever ready to give us not only what we need, but more than we can expect. He gives freely of his Holy Spirit that we may share in his abundant life and joy. Do you approach your heavenly Father with confident trust in his mercy and kindness?
“Heavenly Father, you are merciful, gracious and kind. May I never doubt your mercy and love nor hesitate to seek you with confident trust in order to obtain the gifts, graces, and daily provision I need to live as your beloved child and constant friend.”