Thursday, March 9, 2017

Thursday of the First Week
Ask and ye shall receive.   This precept is so simple, so direct, and so ubiquitous throughout both the Old and the New Testament.  With reason this is such a central precept in our relationship with God, and the reason unpeels, with layers upon layers.
The first and most direct message, constantly repeated, is simply that prayers to God are heard and are answered.  This is both foundation and validation of faith. Our prayers though, are not demands of God, they are evocations of trust.  In praying, in laying our needs before God, we turn them over to Him, set aside our worry in the trust we have in God, and know that God sees through to our actual needs, and in omniscience knows better than we do how to help us grow closer to Him through His response to our prayers.   And is it for the growth of this trust, this resting in the Lord, that God asks that we pray, asks that we always lay our needs before him.  It is a surrender and a gift when we lay our needs before God, and through this, we grow closer to God, which is God’s ultimate goal for us.

But as always, Christ takes us one step further:  Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.  We are to emulate Christ, and through Him to learn godliness.  We are to answer the needs of our neighbors, to answer their prayers spoken and unspoken, as God does for us. More than that though, Christ also teaches us to accept with humility and grace the love and gifts of our neighbors, through whom God often answers our prayers.   Christ teaches through His own example, and one of the most tender examples of this lesson is the story of Mary Magdalene.  Whether Christ ever voiced the prayer or not, God recognized that His Son, who gave His life to answer the needs of the world and whose every act was a miracle of giving, also needed to be loved, cared for, and nurtured, and so sent the hands of Mary Magdalene with her jar of oil as His gift to His Son. And in one of the most wonderful lessons Christ has for us, Christ accepted that gift, from one of the very lowliest, with grace and humility.  Christ gratefully allowed God to answer His needs through the people around Him.

God, let me grow in trust of You, and from that trust, let grow an understanding of how You always answer my prayers so often through the giving and love of my neighbors, and in turn, teach me how I can be Your answer, be the hands of Your work, to the needs of the world.

Jo Ellis-Monaghan, Professor of Mathematics


First Reading: Esther C:12, 14-16, 23-25
Psalm 138:1-3, 7c-8
Gospel: Matthew 7:7-12

Daily Scripture readings can be found online at the USCCB website

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