Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Reflections for the 11th Week in Ordinary Time, Part 2

Thursday – Why Pray?

In today's Gospel, Jesus offers us some important instructions about how to pray, and He also assures us, “Your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.” Those words might leave us with some questions. If God already knows what we need, why ask Him at all? Why do we pray? 

We pray not so much to get some thing as to get Someone. Our prayers are mainly about increasing our intimacy with God, growing in love for Him, learning to trust Him, discovering how to hear His voice, understanding Him better, and seeing His hand in our lives. As we ask God for things for ourselves and others (and receive His responses), we learn how to prioritize our desires, and we discern His plan for us. Indeed, God knows us far better than we know ourselves. He invites us, through prayer, to get to know Him, too. 

Friday – A Psalm of Praise

Today's Psalm draws us to praise and worship God in joy. The psalmist begins by proclaiming, “I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall be ever in my mouth.” At every moment, the psalmist turns to God with an open, worshiping heart. He honors God, recognizing Him as the all-powerful, all-knowing, all-wise, all-present, all-loving Being Who holds the whole universe in existence. He acknowledges God's great deeds and the deliverance He brings to His people. He remembers the many times when God has answered his prayers, rescuing him from fear and distress. He looks toward God with a face filled with radiant joy. His very soul rings out in adoration. The psalmist invites us to join him in this ecstatic worship. “Glorify the Lord with me,” he urges, “let us together extol His name.” Will we accept his invitation and lift our hearts to God in blessing and praise

Saturday – Seek First the Kingdom of God

Do not worry. This is one of the most difficult commands in the whole Bible. But Jesus is very clear: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink, or about your body, what you will wear.”

How do we avoid worries? The world seems full of uncertainties and fears and “what ifs.” Some days they bombard us from all sides in a never ending chorus of anxiety. How do we stem the flow? How do we keep the worry from overwhelming us? 

Jesus has the answer. The opposite of worry is trust, and we have Someone looking out for us Who is 100% trustworthy, 100% reliable. He knows all our needs. He understands all our cares. He is closer to us than we are to ourselves. He loves us more than we can ever imagine.

What must we do, then? Jesus tells us to “seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness...” We must set our eyes firmly on God and keep them there. We must strive after Him in faithful and loving prayer, reaching out to embrace the intimacy He offers. We must also obey God, for He gives us His moral law that we may be righteous (i.e., right with Him), and we must live out our faith in love to our neighbors, doing good to them whenever we can. If we keep our focus on God and His plan for us, we will be so occupied with His awesomeness that we won't have time to worry. Impossible? Begin with a sincere and trusting prayer for help and prepare for a miracle.

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