In today's Gospel, Jesus tells a parable to illustrate the need to persevere in prayer. Suppose, He says to His disciples, you have an unexpected guest show up at your house. You don't have anything on hand to show the proper hospitality, so you scoot over to a friend's house and ask for three loaves of bread. Your friend and his family are already nicely tucked into bed, and he doesn't really want to get up to help you. You're pretty desperate, though, so you persist in your pleas. Your friend, who knows you well, soon sees that he's not going to get rid of you unless he gives you something. You get your loaves and head home to feed your guest.
God is our friend. Think about that for a moment. We can rely on God to care for us and love us. We can ask Him for what we need and be sure that He will give it to us. He may not do so on our time, but His provident hand will hold out the very best answers to all our prayers if we just wait and persevere.
Jesus continues with three reassuring statements. 1. Ask and you will receive. God will give us exactly what we need. That may not be exactly what we ask for, but we will always receive something when we pray, and often, that something is Someone as we increase our intimacy with the Blessed Trinity. 2. Seek and you will find. When we seek God, we will find Him. He is always right there, waiting for us to open our minds to His Word and our hearts to His love. 3. Knock and the door will be opened to you. God is always ready to open His door to us. If we knock with true repentance, confess our sins, and accept the penance God requires, the gates of Heaven swing out to admit us, and God will be awaiting us with arms spread wide.
Friday – Just Judgment
We live in a broken world. Horrible things happen: natural disasters, accidents, crimes, disease. We are vulnerable, prone to all kinds of weakness. We sin frequently, contributing to the chaos around us.
But we still have hope, and today's Psalm tells us why. The Psalmist begins by giving thanks to God with his whole heart and proclaiming the wonderful deeds God has done for His people. He cries out in praise and exaltation, recognizing God's power and love.
Then the Psalmist continues by explaining how God judges the world and set things right. He has rebuked sinful nations and wicked people in the past. Those who commit evil will experience the consequences of their deeds, the Psalmist assures. They will fall into the pit they have made by their own actions and get caught in the snares of their own sins.
How do we know this? How can we be sure, especially when the wicked seem to be multiplying and thriving? The Psalmist tells us: “The Lord sits enthroned forever.” He is in control. He is sovereign. He judges the whole world with justice. He governs rightly, making sure that everything comes out just as it is supposed to in the end.
We may live in a broken world, but we have a God Who makes us whole. We may experience horrible things, but we have a God Who makes them turn out for our good if only we trust Him. We may be vulnerable, but we have a God Who protects us and knows exactly what we need, exactly when we need it. We may sin, but we have a God Who is always ready to pour out His forgiveness upon repentant hearts.
This is why we have hope.
Saturday – Hear and Observe
Lord Jesus, You say to us, “...blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.” May we open our minds and hearts to hear Your word in the Sacred Scriptures, in the liturgy, and in the teaching of Your Church. Give us the graces we need to understand and accept what we hear.
Lord Jesus, give us the drive to dig deeply into the wonderful mysteries of our faith. May we read and study Scripture diligently. May we attend Mass faithfully and enter into the liturgy with our whole being. May we make an effort to learn exactly what the Church teaches through the Catechism, the writings of the Fathers, saints, and theologians, and the teachings of the popes and bishops. May we always pray as we read and study so that our efforts become an intimate conversation with You.
Lord Jesus, give us the commitment to put Your words into action. May we love as You loved and serve as You served. May we always be obedient to Your moral law, realizing that You designed it according to our human nature that we may be free to love You and other people and to embrace the divine life You want to share with us. May we become small and transparent that You may loom large and shine out from us in every situation we find ourselves in and to every person we meet.
Lord Jesus, our beloved Savior, may we always hear the word of God and observe it in faith, hope, and love. Amen.