Ask!

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?”
(Luke 11:5-13)

Scripture Study

11:5 Suppose you have a friend Jesus employs a parable to instruct His disciples to pray with persistence and with faith.

11:6 I have nothing to offer In Israel’s culture of hospitality, hosts were expected to feed their guests.

11:7 my children and I are already in bed The image is one of a single-room house or a dwelling where the sleeping quarters were confined to one room—usually on an elevated platform above the main floor. To meet the friend’s request would cause the entire family to be disturbed.

11:8 because of his persistence Refers to the friend requesting bread. His persistence illustrates how Jesus’ disciples should pray.

11:9 ask With all three commands in this verse, Jesus encourages His followers to anticipate God’s generosity and kindness.

11:10 For everyone who asks receives This is not meant to imply that God will always provide what a petitioner requests.

11:11 what father among you Jesus asks rhetorical questions to set up His closing remark about giving good gifts (Luke 11:13).

11:13 how much more Since sinful parents know how to provide for their children, God can be expected to do abundantly more—even pouring out His Spirit upon His children.

Scripture Reflection

There are two wonderful lessons in the reading. St John Mary Vianney said, “Persevere in prayer. Persevere even when your efforts seem sterile. Prayer is always fruitful. Do you see the effectiveness of prayer when it is done properly? Are you not convinced like me that, if we do not obtain what we ask God for, it is because we are not praying with faith, with a heart pure enough, with enough confidence, or that we are not persevering in prayer the way we should? God has never refused, nor will ever refuse, anything to those who ask for his graces in the way they should.”

The second lesson speaks to the example of human parenthood as a comparison to stress again the wonderful fact that God is our Father, for God’s fatherhood is the source of parenthood in heaven and on earth. St Josemaría Escrivá told us, “The God of our faith is not a distant being who contemplates indifferently the fate of men—their desires, their struggles, their sufferings. He is a Father who loves his children so much that he sends the Word, the Second Person of the most Blessed Trinity, so that by taking on the nature of man he may die to redeem us. He is the loving Father who now leads us gently to himself, through the action of the Holy Spirit who dwells in our hearts.” 

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.