A Father of Many Nations

Brothers and sisters:
It was not through the law
that the promise was made to Abraham and his descendants
that he would inherit the world,
but through the righteousness that comes from faith.
For this reason, it depends on faith,
so that it may be a gift,
and the promise may be guaranteed to all his descendants,
not to those who only adhere to the law
but to those who follow the faith of Abraham,
who is the father of all of us, as it is written,
I have made you father of many nations.
He is our father in the sight of God,
in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead
and calls into being what does not exist.
He believed, hoping against hope,
that he would become the father of many nations,
according to what was said, Thus shall your descendants be.
(Romans 4:13, 16-18)

Scripture Study

4:13 the promise Refers to God’s promise of land (Gen 18:18; 22:17–18). Land was essential for Abraham and his descendants to become the great nation God had promised (Gen 12:3). Paul asserts that this promise came through faith; God did not give it through the law since the law had not yet been given to God’s people. inherit the world God had promised that Abraham and his descendants would inherit the land of Canaan and be an instrument of blessing for all the nations of the earth (e.g., Gen 12:3; 13:16; 17:8; 22:18).

4:16 the promise In the same way that God offered Abraham the gift of land through faith, He now offers the gift of righteousness through faith to all people. This means that both Jews and Gentiles should have the same response to God’s promise of righteousness apart from the law. faith of Abraham Jewish people regarded themselves as natural descendants of Abraham (Rom 4:1); Paul metaphorically extends this association to all people who exhibit Abraham’s faith.

4:17 the father of many nations A quotation of Gen 17:5 from the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the OT). The plural of the Greek word used here, ethnos (“nation”), also (at times) refers to Gentiles in general. Paul uses this different meaning to assert that Abraham is father not only of Jews but also of Gentiles. gives life to the dead Could refer to Jesus’ resurrection. Abraham also is said to be as good as dead when God brought life (a child) from him and Sarah (Rom 4:19; Gen 17:17).

4:18 against hope Abraham trusted in the hope of God’s ability to fulfill what He had promised. thus shall your descendants be A quotation from Gen 15:5. When Abraham complained to God about not having an heir, God reassured him that his descendants would be as numerous as the stars in the sky.

Scripture Reflection

For Paul, Abraham is a type of Christ; that is, Abraham follows the pattern of Christ. Adam and Moses, on the other hand, are antitypes—reverse patterns. For Jews, circumcision, the ritual removal of the foreskin of infant boys, symbolizes the individual’s membership in the people of God, and therefore the individual’s acceptance of God’s law and teaching.

Since Abraham was justified before his circumcision, he was justified independently of the Law. Therefore, Abraham is the ancestor of both Jews and Gentiles. Abraham’s example illustrates the theme of Romans: all have access now to salvation through faith.

– Mary Ann Getty 

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

Do Not Be Afraid

At that time:
So many people were crowding together
that they were trampling one another underfoot.
Jesus began to speak, first to his disciples,
“Beware of the leaven–that is, the hypocrisy–of the Pharisees.

“There is nothing concealed that will not be revealed,
nor secret that will not be known.
Therefore whatever you have said in the darkness
will be heard in the light,
and what you have whispered behind closed doors
will be proclaimed on the housetops.
I tell you, my friends,
do not be afraid of those who kill the body
but after that can do no more.
I shall show you whom to fear.
Be afraid of the one who after killing
has the power to cast into Gehenna;
yes, I tell you, be afraid of that one.
Are not five sparrows sold for two small coins?
Yet not one of them has escaped the notice of God.
Even the hairs of your head have all been counted.
Do not be afraid.
You are worth more than many sparrows.”
(Luke 12:1-7)

Scripture Study

12:1 hypocrisy: The besetting vice of the Pharisees. As leaven permeates dough, their teaching and example influence the crowds in a disastrous way, especially when they fail to practice what they preach (Mt 23:1–8). Their sins will be brought to “light” (12:3) at the Last Judgment (CCC 678).

12:4–5 do not be afraid: Since physical death is only a moderate threat compared to spiritual death, Jesus calls us to have courage in the face of persecution and to be more concerned by temptations to sin. hell: Literally, “Gehenna”. See note on Mt 10:28 and word study: Hell at Mk 9:43.

12:7 the hairs of your head: Nothing is hidden to God (Ps 139:1–6), and no suffering goes unnoticed by him (21:18; Acts 27:34). Christian martyrs can therefore look beyond the afflictions of this life to God’s vindication and eternal reward (Rev 20:4).

Scripture Reflection

Nothing—not even the most insignificant thing—escapes God, his providence and the judgment he will mete out. For this same reason, no one should fear that any suffering or persecution he experiences in following Christ will remain unrewarded in eternity.

The teaching about fear where Jesus tells us that God is a good Father who watches over every one of us—much more than he does over these little ones (whom he also remembers). Therefore, our fear of God should not be based on fear of punishment; it should be the fear of someone who does not want to displease his father, a fear nourished by trust in divine providence. 

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

Redemptive Balance

Brothers and sisters:
Now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law,
though testified to by the law and the prophets,
the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ
for all who believe.
For there is no distinction;
all have sinned and are deprived of the glory of God.
They are justified freely by his grace
through the redemption in Christ Jesus,
whom God set forth as an expiation,
through faith, by his Blood, to prove his righteousness
because of the forgiveness of sins previously committed,
through the forbearance of God–
to prove his righteousness in the present time,
that he might be righteous
and justify the one who has faith in Jesus.

What occasion is there then for boasting? It is ruled out.
On what principle, that of works?
No, rather on the principle of faith.
For we consider that a person is justified by faith
apart from works of the law.
Does God belong to Jews alone?
Does he not belong to Gentiles, too?
Yes, also to Gentiles, for God is one
and will justify the circumcised on the basis of faith
and the uncircumcised through faith.
(Romans 3:21-30)

Scripture Study

3:21 the law and the prophets: The Scriptures prepared Israel for a Messiah who would conquer the devil (Gen 3:15), make atonement for sin (Is 53:10–12), and renew the heart of man (Ezek 36:25–27) through the founding of a New Covenant (Jer 31:31–34).

3:23 all have sinned: Not all without exception (every human being), but all without distinction (Jews and Gentiles alike, 3:9; 10:12). That there are exceptions is clear: Jesus was sinless; children below the age of reason do not willfully commit sin; and tradition holds that Mary, by the grace of God, lived her entire life unstained by sin.

3:24 redemption: A ransom price paid for the release of captives.

3:25 an expiation: A sacrifice that wipes away sin. ● The expression is used multiple times in the Greek OT for the mercy seat, or golden lid that covered the Ark of the Covenant (Ex 25:17; Heb 9:5). The high priest of Israel sprinkled blood on the mercy seat once a year on the Day of Atonement to expiate the sins of the people and restore them to fellowship with Yahweh (Lev 16:1–34). For Paul, the mercy seat typifies Christ as the living seat of God’s presence and the place where atonement is made with sacrificial blood (CCC 433). ● Christ, who became an expiation by blood, teaches us to follow his example by the mortification of our members (St. Gregory of Nyssa, On Perfection).

3:28 justified by faith: Faith is a gift of grace that moves us toward God (Phil 1:29). It leads to justification because it leads to Baptism (6:3–4; 1 Cor 6:11). The object of justifying faith is both personal and propositional: it embraces God as well as the revealed tenets of the gospel. Catholic theology holds that faith does not act alone in this process but reaches out with hope for divine mercy and love for the Lord. Faith manifests itself in the lives of believers through obedience (1:5), love (Gal 5:6), and good works (Eph 2:10). works of law: For possible meanings of this, see note on Rom 3:20. ● The Council of Trent decreed in 1547 that man, by his own efforts and works, can never merit the initial grace of justification that makes him a child of God and a member of the New Covenant. This grace is an entirely free gift from Jesus Christ conferred in Baptism (CCC 1987–2011).

3:30 God is one: The monotheistic creed of ancient Israel (Deut 6:4). Paul draws an important lesson from it: because Jews and Gentiles have one and the same God, all are justified in one and the same way, i.e., by faith. 

Scripture Reflection

An ancient Rabbi, Simeon Ben Eleazar said: “Any sinner that has committed a transgression, woe on him! He has tipped the scales to the side of debt for himself and for the world.” This means a sinner takes from one pan of the scales something he has no right to take: so the scale is out of balance. The Holiness of God seeks to have it rebalanced. How do it? If the sinner stole property, he could begin to rebalance by giving it back. If he stole a pleasure, he can begin to rebalance by giving up some other pleasure. But these are only beginnings, for even one mortal sin has an infinity about it: the Person offended, God, is infinite. So if the Father willed complete rebalance, that could be done only by sending a divine Person to become

But these are only beginnings, for even one mortal sin has an infinity about it: the Person offended, God, is infinite. So if the Father willed complete rebalance, that could be done only by sending a divine Person to become man. The Father actually did that, He sent His Son. Jesus fully rebalanced the objective order. Our justification then is by God’s grace, attained “through the redemption which is in Jesus Christ alone.”

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

Harvest Time

The Lord Jesus appointed seventy-two disciples
whom he sent ahead of him in pairs
to every town and place he intended to visit.
He said to them,
“The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few;
so ask the master of the harvest
to send out laborers for his harvest.
Go on your way;
behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves.
Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals;
and greet no one along the way.
Into whatever house you enter,
first say, ‘Peace to this household.’
If a peaceful person lives there,
your peace will rest on him;
but if not, it will return to you.
Stay in the same house and eat and drink what is offered to you,
for the laborer deserves payment.
Do not move about from one house to another.
Whatever town you enter and they welcome you,
eat what is set before you,
cure the sick in it and say to them,
‘The Kingdom of God is at hand for you.'”
(Luke 10:1-9)

Scripture Study

10:1 The Lord Jesus appointed seventy-two disciples Some manuscripts report 70 disciples; others have 72. Appointed in addition to the Twelve, these disciples serve as heralds of Jesus’ proclamation of the kingdom of God.

10:2 The harvest is abundant, but the laborers are few Describes the large number of people ready to receive Jesus’ kingdom message and the relatively few people available to share the message of the kingdom of God.

I am sending you Sets the stage for the instructions that follow.

10:4 Carry no money bag They were to rely on God for their provisions.

10:6 a peaceful person Refers to a believer. Peace is used throughout Luke in reference to God’s blessing (e.g., 2:14; 7:50; 8:48).

it will return to you The initial greeting or blessing would not take effect on the house or its inhabitants.

10:7 Do not move about The Twelve should not be concerned with procuring better accommodations, which would be offensive to their hosts.

Scripture Reflection

Friends, our Gospel shows us what Jesus wants his followers to be doing and how they ought do it. We are a missionary church. We are sent by the Lord to spread his word and do his work. The Gospel is just not something that we are meant to cling to for our own benefit; it is seed that we are meant to give away.

Prayer is not incidental to ministry. It is not decorative. It is the lifeblood of the Church’s efforts. Without it, nothing will succeed; without it, no ministers will come forward. At all times pray, pray, pray.

Poverty and simplicity of life are prerequisites to the effective proclamation of the Gospel. Anthony, Benedict, Chrysostom, Francis and Clare, Dominic, Ignatius, Mother Teresa—across the board, the most effective proclaimers of the Gospel are those who rely on the providence of God and strip themselves of worldliness.

What is the first thing that the minister should do upon entering a city? “Cure the sick there.” Christ is Soter, healer of both body and spirit. The second great task of the Church is to proclaim that “the reign of God is at hand.” The Church is an announcing, proclaiming, evangelizing organism.

– Bishop Robert Barron

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

Interior Alms

After Jesus had spoken,
a Pharisee invited him to dine at his home.
He entered and reclined at table to eat.
The Pharisee was amazed to see
that he did not observe the prescribed washing before the meal.
The Lord said to him, “Oh you Pharisees!
Although you cleanse the outside of the cup and the dish,
inside you are filled with plunder and evil.
You fools!
Did not the maker of the outside also make the inside?
But as to what is within, give alms,
and behold, everything will be clean for you.”
(Luke 11:37-41)

Scripture Study

11:37 Pharisee The Pharisees were Jewish religious authorities (not priests) who promoted strict adherence to the law of Moses. Luke’s reference to teachers of the law probably is synonymous with the group mentioned in Luke 5:21.

11:38 did not observe Washing one’s hands before eating is not required in the law of Moses, but was part of the Pharisees’ tradition (see Matt 15:2).

11:39 cleanse the outside Jesus contrasts external purity (proper behavior) with internal cleansing (transformation of the heart).

Scripture Reflection

Friends, Jesus concludes today’s Gospel by prescribing giving alms as a key to holiness. I’ve quoted to you before some of the breathtaking remarks of saints and popes about almsgiving: Leo XIII says, “Once the demands of necessity and propriety have been met, the rest of your money belongs to the poor.” John Chrysostom says, “The man who has two shirts in his closet, one belongs to him; the other belongs to the man who has no shirt.”

The deepest root of all of this is in the prophets, who continually rail against those who are indifferent to the poor. The prophets teach us that compassion is key to biblical ethics, feeling the pain of others in our own hearts. We’re not dealing with an abstract Aristotelian moral philosophy, but rather with something more visceral.

This is precisely why the two great commandments are so tightly linked: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart…and love your neighbor as yourself.” In loving God you feel the feelings of God, and God is compassionate to the poor and oppressed. That’s all the argument that a biblical person needs.

– Bishop Robert Barron

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

Sing Praise

Sing to the LORD a new song,
for he has done wondrous deeds;
His right hand has won victory for him,
his holy arm.

The LORD has made his salvation known:
in the sight of the nations he has revealed his justice.
He has remembered his kindness and his faithfulness
toward the house of Israel.

All the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation by our God.
Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
break into song; sing praise.
(Psalm 98:1-4)

Scripture Study

98:1 holy arm God’s arm is a symbol of his strength in both judgment and salvation. The arm of God is a symbol of His strength in judgment as well as salvation (Exod 6:6; Isa 52:10). The right hand, specifically, represents the hand of special blessing according to Hebrew thought (Gen 48:17–20). It also is connected as a metaphor to God’s protection (Ps 119:173) and His powerful acts of salvation (98:1; 109:27; 118:15–16) or creation (95:5; 102:25).

98:2 his salvation Refers to deliverance from real hazards and problems. The Hebrew word used here, yeshu’ah, refers to help or deliverance. God’s yeshu’ah here is viewed as deliverance from hazards and problems. his righteousness The psalmist describes how God’s deliverance displays His righteousness.

98:3 the house of Israel Probably refers to family or community. the salvation of our God Coupled with v. 2, the term yeshu’ah (“salvation”) provides a bookend structure to define what God has revealed to Israel and the nations. By remembering His commitment to Israel and acting on it, God has shown Himself to the world.

98:4 Sing joyfully to the Lord Compare 100:1.

Scripture Reflection

The psalm is the Old Testament text for Isaac Watts’s Christmas hymn, “Joy to the World!” The hymn celebrates the birth of Jesus as the coming of the LORD to rule the world with truth and grace. It uses the language and themes of the psalm in order to say that the nativity is an event of the kind and significance proclaimed in the psalm. The psalm announces the coming of the Savior God as king of the world.

Psalmists and prophets saw the exodus and the return as a “coming” of the LORD into the affairs of human beings. They believed that the mystery of that coming was the meaning of history. The kingdom of God was coming through salvation. The New Testament witnesses saw in Jesus a continuation and climax of these salvific comings. In an echo of verse 3, Mary called her unborn child a marvelous deed in which the LORD “remembered his mercy to Israel.” Paul saw in the gospel of Jesus Christ the salvation of God that reveals God’s righteousness to the nations.

The early Christians chanted the psalm as a hymn about the Christ to express their joy at having found a king who brought salvation instead of oppression and misery. When Isaac Watts transformed the psalm into a hymn for Christmas, he was tutored by Scripture and tradition—and he got it right. “Joy to the World!” as hymn reflects and renews what the psalm has always meant as Christmas liturgy. It catches and repeats the exuberance of humankind and nature in recognition of what is happening. It interprets Christmas as a decisive event in the reign of God, something that changes history for the nations. It maintains the connection between salvation and rule: “The Savior reigns.”

– James Mays

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

Incomplete Conversion?

Jesus again in reply spoke to the chief priests and elders of the people
in parables, saying,
“The kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king
who gave a wedding feast for his son.
He dispatched his servants
to summon the invited guests to the feast,
but they refused to come.
A second time he sent other servants, saying,
‘Tell those invited: “Behold, I have prepared my banquet,
my calves and fattened cattle are killed,
and everything is ready; come to the feast.”‘
Some ignored the invitation and went away,
one to his farm, another to his business.
The rest laid hold of his servants,
mistreated them, and killed them.
The king was enraged and sent his troops,
destroyed those murderers, and burned their city.
Then he said to his servants, ‘The feast is ready,
but those who were invited were not worthy to come.
Go out, therefore, into the main roads
and invite to the feast whomever you find.’
The servants went out into the streets
and gathered all they found, bad and good alike,
and the hall was filled with guests.
But when the king came in to meet the guests,
he saw a man there not dressed in a wedding garment.
The king said to him, ‘My friend, how is it
that you came in here without a wedding garment?’
But he was reduced to silence.
Then the king said to his attendants, ‘Bind his hands and feet,
and cast him into the darkness outside,
where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.’
Many are invited, but few are chosen.”
(Matthew 22:1-14)

Scripture Study

22:2 Wedding feast: the Old Testament’s portrayal of final salvation under the image of a banquet (Is 25:6) is taken up also in Mt 8:11; cf. Lk 13:15.

22:3–4 Servants … other servants: probably Christian missionaries in both instances; cf. Mt 23:34.

22:7 This parable has been given many allegorical traits by Matthew, e.g., the burning of the city of the guests who refused the invitation (Mt 22:7), which corresponds to the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in a.d. 70. It has similarities with the preceding parable of the tenants: the sending of two groups of servants (Mt 22:3, 4), the murder of the servants (Mt 22:6) the punishment of the murderers (Mt 22:7), and the entrance of a new group into a privileged situation of which the others had proved themselves unworthy (Mt 22:8–10).

22:10 Bad and good alike: cf. Mt 13:47.

22:11 A wedding garment: the repentance, change of heart and mind, that is the condition for entrance into the kingdom (Mt 3:2; 4:17) must be continued in a life of good deeds (Mt 7:21–23).

22:13 Wailing and grinding of teeth: the Christian who lacks the wedding garment of good deeds will suffer the same fate as those Jews who have rejected Jesus; the first occurrence of a phrase used frequently in this gospel to describe final condemnation (Mt 13:42, 50; 22:13; 24:51; 25:30). It is found elsewhere in the New Testament only in Lk 13:28. 

Scripture Reflection

The parable of the wedding feast is about our response to God’s call. It cautions us first of the dangers of indifference. When the Father invites us into a relationship with his Son, we can either choose to respond or we can quietly decline the invitation and go back to our personal pursuits as though nothing has changed and no new demands have been placed on our lives.

Another danger brought to our attention is indignation. Many people fight the idea that we are all sinners in need of salvation. In such cases, the good news and its call for repentance can seem like a threat to our happiness and our deepest desires for fulfillment in life. This can put us on the defensive and even provoke a hostile response toward those who challenge us with the claims of Christ.

Finally, the parable warns us against incomplete conversion. The man without the wedding garment had neither ignored nor refused the invitation to the feast. But his yes to the call of God was not carried through in his life. He wanted the good things of the kingdom, but not enough to break with his sinful ways and live as a committed disciple.

– Edward Sri 

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

Blessed Word

While Jesus was speaking,
a woman from the crowd called out and said to him,
“Blessed is the womb that carried you
and the breasts at which you nursed.”
He replied, “Rather, blessed are those
who hear the word of God and observe it.”
(Luke 11:27-28)

Scripture Study

11:27 Blessed is the womb that carried you An echo of what Mary, the mother of Jesus, has already articulated about her own role (Luke 1:48). As Jesus is moving toward His death, He states the inverse of the woman’s cry, pronouncing that someday those who are childless will be called blessed (23:29).

11:28 hear the word of God and observe it True blessedness, according to Jesus, is found in obedience to God’s revelation (compare 8:21).

Scripture Reflection

Friends, our Gospel blesses those who hear the word of God and observe it. In this regard, I would like to speak about the response of the Polish people to the word proclaimed by St. John Paul II. The power of the Polish Communist state, and behind that the power of the Soviet Union, is what John Paul faced at the beginning of the 1980s. But he was practiced in the art of facing down oppressive political forces, having grown up under Nazism and Communism.

He spoke of God, of human rights, of the dignity of the individual—frightening at every turn, his handlers worried about diplomatic repercussions. As he spoke, the crowds got bigger and more enthusiastic. This went beyond mere Polish nationalism. At one gathering, the millions of people began to chant “We want God! We want God!” over and over for fifteen minutes.

There was no controlling this power, born of the confidence that God’s love is more powerful than any of the weapons of the empires of the world, from crosses to nuclear bombs. This is, of course, why Communist officialdom tried vehemently to stop John Paul II. But there is no chaining the Word of God!

– Bishop Robert Barron

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

Scattering

When Jesus had driven out a demon, some of the crowd said:
“By the power of Beelzebul, the prince of demons,
he drives out demons.”
Others, to test him, asked him for a sign from heaven.
But he knew their thoughts and said to them,
“Every kingdom divided against itself will be laid waste
and house will fall against house.
And if Satan is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand?
For you say that it is by Beelzebul that I drive out demons.
If I, then, drive out demons by Beelzebul,
by whom do your own people drive them out?
Therefore they will be your judges.
But if it is by the finger of God that I drive out demons,
then the Kingdom of God has come upon you.
When a strong man fully armed guards his palace,
his possessions are safe.
But when one stronger than he attacks and overcomes him,
he takes away the armor on which he relied
and distributes the spoils.
Whoever is not with me is against me,
and whoever does not gather with me scatters.

“When an unclean spirit goes out of someone,
it roams through arid regions searching for rest
but, finding none, it says,
‘I shall return to my home from which I came.’
But upon returning, it finds it swept clean and put in order.
Then it goes and brings back seven other spirits
more wicked than itself who move in and dwell there,
and the last condition of that man is worse than the first.”
(Luke 11:15-26)

Scripture Study

11:15 He casts out demons: Jesus forces his opponents to decide for themselves whether he is empowered by God or the devil, leaving no neutral ground for them to stand upon. Beelzebul: A derogatory name for Satan. A Philistine god worshiped at Ekron (2 Kings 1:2–16). It translates something like “Prince Baal”, a well-known god of the Canaanites. Jews mockingly changed its meaning to “lord of flies” or “lord of dung”. In the Gospels, it refers to Satan, “the prince of demons.”

11:20 the finger of God: i.e., the Holy Spirit (Mt 12:28; CCC 700). ● Jesus alludes to Ex 8:19, where Pharaoh’s magicians finally confess that their own sorcery has been outmatched by the power of Yahweh. Jesus likewise wields divine power that is far superior to that of other exorcists in his day (11:19).

11:22 one stronger: A reference to Jesus, who overthrows Satan and plunders his house of sinners held captive (13:16; Is 49:24–25; Heb 2:14–15).

11:26 the last state: Those delivered of demons must be filled with the goodness of Christ’s kingdom. To benefit from his ministry without accepting his message leads to spiritual ruin (2 Pet 2:20).

Scripture Reflection

Friends, in today’s Gospel we learn of a person possessed by a demon. Jesus meets the man and drives out the demon, but then is immediately accused of being in league with Satan. Some of the witnesses said, “By the power of Beelzebul, the prince of demons, he drives out demons.”

Jesus’ response is wonderful in its logic and laconicism: “Every kingdom divided against itself will be laid waste and house will fall against house. And if Satan is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand?”

The demonic power is always one of scattering. It breaks up communion. But Jesus, as always, is the voice of communio, of one bringing things back together.

Think back to Jesus’ feeding of the five thousand. Facing a large, hungry crowd, his disciples beg him to “dismiss the crowds so that they can go to the villages and buy food for themselves.” But Jesus answers, “There is no need for them to go away; give them some food yourselves.”

Whatever drives the Church apart is an echo of this “dismiss the crowds” impulse and a reminder of the demonic tendency to divide. In times of trial and threat, this is a very common instinct. We blame, attack, break up, and disperse. But Jesus is right: “There is no need for them to go away.”

And today he says, “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.”

– Bishop Robert Barron

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

 

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.