OCTOBER 7. Ord Time B. Wk 27. Thu. Lk 11. 5-13
Updated: Oct 7
Jesus said to his disciples:
‘Suppose one of you has a friend and goes to him in the middle of the night to say, “My friend, lend me three loaves, because a friend of mine on his travels has just arrived at my house and I have nothing to offer him”; and the man answers from inside the house, “Do not bother me. The door is bolted now, and my children and I are in bed; I cannot get up to give it you.” I tell you, if the man does not get up and give it him for friendship’s sake, persistence will be enough to make him get up and give his friend all he wants.
‘So, I say to you: Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you. For the one who asks always receives; the one who searches always finds; the one who knocks will always have the door opened to him. What father among you would hand his son a stone when he asked for bread? Or hand him a snake instead of a fish? Or hand him a scorpion if he asked for an egg? If you then, who are evil, know how to give your children what is good, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!’
It is important to note today’s gospel follow immediately on from Jesus teaching his disciples the Our Father, so the focus is clearly a continuation of his teaching us how to pray; - the central requirement if one is to have an intimate relationship with God!
What is clear is the person praying sees himself as a “friend,” something critically important in prayer as it gives us confidence, no matter our human failings. The message I receive from this story, following on from the Our Father, is the person praying is a sinner; - and so he is asking at a very inconvenient time; - the middle of the night!
A person does not normally approach a “friend” at midnight, but as the relationship is strained, due to sin, and has grown cold, the man has been forced to come, as he has an unexpected visitor, and no bread! Because it is not a convenient time the request is not received well; - which brings us to the main point of this story; - prayer has to be both confident and persistent, with an awareness of God’s unconditional friendship, despite our sins and failings!
And this message is reinforced by the second part of the Gospel where Christ speaks very clearly; - “I say to you: Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you. For the one who asks always receives; the one who searches always finds; the one who knocks will always have the door opened to him!
In this reply to a person’s prayer Christ is almost guaranteeing one’s prayer will be answered, even if one is a sinner and has “neglected the friendship” for some time; - again bringing to the fore the love relationship that exists between a child and his Father; - “What father among you would hand his son a stone when he asked for bread? Or hand him a snake instead of a fish? Or hand him a scorpion if he asked for an egg?”
And there is an unusual twist to the conclusion of this parable, where we are told one’s prayer will be answered by God the Father; - but it will be answered in a way that best suits the needs of the one praying. We are told the Father will give the Holy Spirit! “If you then, who are evil, know how to give your children what is good, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!’
The Holy Spirit; - the light and means by which God enlightens and guides the Faithful!
Gospel Acclamation cf.Ac16:14
Open our hearts, O Lord,
to listen to the words of your Son.
First reading Malachi 3:13-20 · The day that is coming will burn up the wicked
You say harsh things about me, says the Lord. You ask, ‘What have we said against you?’ You say, ‘It is useless to serve God; what is the good of keeping his commands or of walking mournfully before the Lord of Hosts? Now we have reached the point when we call the arrogant blessed; yes, they prosper, these evil-doers; they try God’s patience and yet go free.’ This is what those who fear the Lord used to say to one another. But the Lord took note and heard them: a book of remembrance was written in his presence recording those who fear him and take refuge in his name. On the day which I am preparing, says the Lord of Hosts, they are going to be my own special possession. I will make allowances for them as a man makes allowances for the son who obeys him. Then once again you will see the difference between an upright man and a wicked one, between the one who serves God and the one who does not serve him. For the day is coming now, burning like a furnace; and all the arrogant and the evil-doers will be like stubble. The day that is coming is going to burn them up, says the Lord of Hosts, leaving them neither root nor stalk. But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness will shine out with healing in its rays.