The 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?”
Opening Prayer: I come to you today, Lord, believing firmly that you care about me and are interested in my life. I take comfort in the words from today’s first reading: “the Lord listened attentively.” I know you are listening to me, right now.
Encountering Christ: Today, I am filling in for Dn. Paul because he sent me a text (at the midnight hour) and asked if I could fill in for him today because he was going on vacation. I could have said NO but the true and great friend that I am responded positively. I better get at least a t-shirt out of this (LOL).
Unless your friend were truly a very close friend, you may hesitate in waking them and their family at midnight to ask to borrow some food. And even if it were a very close friend, you would probably hesitate for fear of disturbing them. But in this parable, the “friend” is God. Jesus just finished giving His disciples the “Our Father” prayer, and now He adds this parable as a way of expressing the great confidence and determination with which we must pray to the Father. The parable concludes by stating that even if the person in bed does not get up to meet the request, they will do so “because of his persistence.” And though God always is attentive to our prayer, our persistence is an essential quality we must have.
When we pray to God with persistence, never doubting the goodness and generosity of God, God will pour forth upon us everything that is good. Of course, if our prayer is for something that is selfish or not in accord with the will of God, then all the begging in the world will not be effective. But when we pray as the “Our Father” prayer teaches us, then we can be certain that our fidelity to that prayer, prayed with the utmost trust and persistence, will affect the good gifts of the will of God in our lives.
One of the seven petitions of the “Our Father” prayer is “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.” This is a truly beautiful petition that requires not only ongoing persistence but also detachment from our preference in life. To pray that “God’s” will be done and that “His” Kingdom come is a way of also saying that you surrender all your preferences to God. You come to God acknowledging that your will may not be God’s will. Thus, this petition expresses detachment in a powerful way.
Closing Prayer: You are loving me and smiling upon me, because, as you remind me in today’s first reading, I am “yours, your own special possession.” Teach me, Lord, to hear your voice and follow wherever you lead.
Action of the Day: Reflect today on what does God want of you? What is His holy will for your life?