Knock and the door shall be opened unto you
Gospel Reflection for the 17th Sunday Ordinary Time Year C – July 28th 2013
Full scripture for this Sunday is available on our parish website. Daily Scripture is also available. Our parish Prayers of the Faithful for this Sunday are made available on the Dublin Diocesan website.
Once Jesus was in a certain place praying, and when he had finished one of his disciples said, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples’. He said to them, ‘Say this when you pray:
“Father, may your name be held holy,
your kingdom come;
give us each day our daily bread,
and forgive us our sins,
for we ourselves forgive each one who is in debt to us.
And do not put us to the test.”‘
He also said to them, ‘Suppose one of you has a friend and goes to him in the middle of the night to say, “My friend, lend me three loaves, because a friend of mine on his travels has just arrived at my house and I have nothing to offer him”; and the man answers from inside the house, “Do not bother me. The door is bolted now, and my children and I are in bed; I cannot get up to give it you”. I tell you, if the man does not get up and give it him for friendship’s sake, persistence will be enough to make him get up and give his friend all he wants.
‘So I say to you: Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you. For the one who asks always receives; the one who searches always finds; the one who knocks will always have the door opened to him. What father among you would hand his son a stone when he asked for bread? Or hand him a snake instead of a fish? Or hand him a scorpion if he asked for an egg? If you then, who are evil, know how to give your children what is good, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!’
Luke 11: 1-13
Often I pray to St Anthony and I find what I was looking for. I can’t understand why, but it brings up the question of praying for what we want and need. People pray hard for an intention; some pray for ages and are answered, some are not.
We often pray for what may be outside God’s control – that someone may give up drink but the person may not want to; that children will be kept safe on the roads but they are killed or injured with the careless and dangerous driving of someone else, maybe under addictive influence.
We are encouraged always to pray with hope and persistence, believing that we always get something. In the asking is the receiving and we never leave prayer worse off than when we began.
Any time we give to prayer we get something. We are transformed. St Ignatius speaks of the effect of prayer – an increase in faith, hope and love. We may not get the specific intention but we always get the Holy Spirit. I have never left prayer the poorer than when I went. Knock and the door will be opened ….in the knocking itself something is opened. In asking and seeking we get something. The first gift of prayer is the love of God. Other gifts follow.
Prayer increases our trust in God. That he wants what is for our good and is with us in love.
So we pray for what we need and then leave the prayer with God, to be answered as he can. This is one of the greatest faiths of all.
Our Father, holy be your name,Your kingdom come and will be done within me and in earth and heaven.
Donal Neary SJ