Faith Daily | 10 March 2022
PRAYER of the DAY - APBA p 482
O Lord, who for our sake fasted forty days and forty nights:
give us grace to use such abstinence,
that, our flesh being subdued to the spirit,
we may ever obey your godly will
in righteousness and true holiness;
to your honour and glory,
who live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit,
one God, world without end.
GOSPEL for the Day: Matthew 7: 7-12
7 ‘Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. 8For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. 9Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for bread, will give a stone? 10Or if the child asks for a fish, will give a snake? 11If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him!
12 ‘In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets.
GOSPEL REFLECTION: Rev'd Josie
Sometimes we read this passage as giving us the easy answer we seek. Ask, and it will be given. Seek and you will find. Persist and good things will come your way. But this isn't our lived experience, or at least not very often. So what did Jesus mean when he told us these things?
I wonder if a clue comes from what we are meant to be asking for? God offers us that which is good - Good, not Good Things.
Reinhold Niebuhr in Moral Man and Immoral Society elucidates what happens when the distinction between the two gets mistaken:
Man [sic], unlike other creatures, is gifted and cursed with an imagination which extends his appetites beyond the requirements of subsistence. Human society will never escape the problem of the equitable distribution of the physical and cultural goods which provide for the preservation and fulfillment of human life.
In other words, “the good” of the preservation and fulfillment of human life is threatened by the uneven distribution of “goods” within human society. As we know, God is not a Santa Claus or genie in the sky, but the One whose initial aim of goodness continually invites us, or lures us to respond in kind. God wants “the good” for us. And we are to ask for “the good” for others. Ask, seek, knock for those in need – not just ourselves.
And our prayers will be answered. Now and not yet. Here and elsewhere. Think of the outpouring of love for those as close as our flooded neighbours and as far as those suffering in Ukraine and Russia. What else is this if not answered prayer? Everywhere we look we see signs of Jesus opening the door to healing within ourselves and the world.
So we keep knocking. Keep seeking. Keep searching. Keep persisting in our prayers of voice and action so that we can keep bringing this broken world closer to what it can and will be.
Thanks be to God.