10Oct 10 October 2013. Thursday of the 27th Week

Mal 3:13ff. Religion seems to brings no benefit. Yet on the day of the Lord all will be revealed.

Lk 11:5-ff Jesus teaches perseverance in prayer, confident of the Father’s love to all who ask it.

First Reading: Malachiah 3:13-18

You have spoken harsh words against me, says the Lord. Yet you say, “How have we spoken against you?” You have said, “It is vain to serve God. What do we profit by keeping his command or by going about as mourners before the Lord of hosts? Now we count the arrogant happy; evildoers not only prosper, but when they put God to the test they escape.”

Then those who revered the Lord spoke with one another. The Lord took note and listened, and a book of remembrance was written before him of those who revered the Lord and thought on his name. They shall be mine, says the Lord of hosts, my special possession on the day when I act, and I will spare them as parents spare their children who serve them. Then once more you shall see the difference between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve him.

Gospel: Luke 11:5-13

And he said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; for a friend of mine has arrived, and I have nothing to set before him.’ And he answers from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door has already been locked, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.’ I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, at least because of his persistence he will get up and give him whatever he needs.

“So I say to you, Ask, and it will be given you search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for a fish, will give a snake instead of a fish? Or if the child asks for an egg, will give a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

The Power of Perseverance

Perseverance is based on the assurance that we already possess what we seek. Luke brings our discussion much closer to earth by citing a more secular word, “persistence”. While “perseverance” connotes the way to heaven, “persistence” almost has an unappropriate taste of stubbornness about it. Such indeed is the tone and attitude of Jesus’ short parable.

The social law of that country and culture demands an open door even to someone who comes, in the middle of the night. But we do not bang on the door of a neighbour in the middle of the night in order to obtain some bread. Jesus is not arguing what is right or wrong. The point of a parable is kept for the last line. The neighbour obliges, not because of friendship but because of the other person’s persistence, and then gives as much as he needs.

Perseverance and persistence carry a note of annoyance and trouble, but most of all require an enduring faith that hopes will not be frustrated. A bond between the neighbours is being deepened beyond the laws of friendship. A new sense of admiration can ensue, once the shock of midnight banging and family disturbance levels off. Jesus takes the parable further by appealing to parents’ care and attention towards their children. Does a mother give a snake when a child asks for fish? He acknowledges the basic goodness and fidelity of every human being, yet he also wants our relationships to deepen and become still more reliable:, with God’s help. If you, with all your sins, know how to give your children good things, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him. God gives part of himself, his own Holy Spirit so that our own good actions manifest his divine goodness and reach beyond our dreams and expectations.

 

3 Responses

  1. Sandra Mc Sheaffrey

    …so that our own good actions manifest his divine goodness and reach beyond our dreams and expectations.
    Technology allows me to begin my day by considering the reflections offered by various persons, notably Pagola, Donagh O Shea, and the team who share the commentary on this website.
    I saved the entry giving the text of Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” and read that again before going to the readings for today.
    It seems incredible that only fifty years ago the colour bar was legal. What will seem incredible in 2063? Until we experience whatever reality it is very difficult to under-stand it. That was my interior thought listening to a conversation on the radio yesterday. What is shocking today to our older generation is seen as ok to younger people. So, what might those younger people look back at in fifty years time and find incredible?

  2. Soline Humbert

    Thank you Sandra.The gender-bar (or gender apartheid) in church laws, for one….Sexism can still be justified as the will of God (as racism once was).
    Catholics would be shocked if blacks were excluded from the diaconate or the priesthood because of the colour of their skins. Would they be happy to take part in whites-only ordinations? But few are shocked that women are excluded, because of their gender. Centuries of institutionalised sexism have made the exclusion of women “normal”, even hallowed it. Few have qualms about attending males-only ordinations. The excluded are invisible.
    Then there is our homophobic church teachings….

  3. Linda, Derry

    @ Soline: With sincere respect, You seem to feel quite a lot of hurt, bitterness, resentment, whatever phrase you want to use regarding the lack of divine authority in the Church to allow women priests. I think you must love Jesus very much to remain in the church, despite the issue of male-only priesthood that you obviously find very difficult to cope with and accept, and that is commendable. However, you should not allow these things to upset you. Soline, you are never, ever, invisible, second-class or excluded by Jesus. None of us are. Look at a crucifix and the proof is there, so never, ever let anyone make you feel otherwise. To do so is to give in to a deception of the devil to try and make you doubt Gods love for you, as you are and where you are, without being an ordained priest.Jesus said “I leave you MY peace, MY peace I give you” and joy is a gift of the Holy Spirit. Don’t let Satan rob you of these God-given gifts and make you unhappy. God Bless :-)