Oct 8 2020 Reflection
Thursday 8 October 2020
First Reading: GAL 3:1-5
Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel; he has come to his people.
LK 1:69-70, 71-72, 73-75
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?”
How much more will the Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him? (Luke 11:13)
“I’m going to beat this problem if it’s the last thing I do!” How often do you say things like that? It’s common to talk about a trial as a battle we need to overcome. We even use military words like “conquer, defeat, and prevail.” We pride ourselves on our warrior-like perseverance.
But having an aggressive mentality like this can backfire when things don’t go our way. When we lose, we can feel as if we didn’t work hard enough or that our strategy was flawed or that there was something that we could have done differently. We feel not only defeated but responsible for our defeat—even in the face of factors far beyond our control.
What if, instead of thinking about fighting a battle, we chose to surrender instead? Not in the sense of giving in to whatever is disturbing us, but in the sense of surrendering ourselves to God? This requires a different, less self-focused type of perseverance: the determination to control our anxious thoughts, to stop spinning our wheels unnecessarily, and to persist in trusting in God’s help and guidance.
In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus urges us to persevere in surrendering as well: to ask and seek and knock at our Father’s door, firm in the belief that God will hear and answer us. Jesus asks that rather than run into battle on our own, we should choose to wait to hear from him. He asks us to surrender our anxieties to him along with any thoughts of self-sufficiency that might keep us from trusting him and following his commands.
What does this kind of surrender look like? Actually, it’s quite active. It means being aware of our thoughts—especially our fears—and giving them to the Lord. It means asking him to help us decide what we should do and what we should release into his care. It means giving all our worries to him each night and trusting that he’ll be with us as we sleep. Surrendering to God isn’t always easy. It can be hard to give up the illusion that we are in total control. But God is our Father. He loves us and will never abandon us.
“Lord, help me to surrender my independence. I trust in you.”