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Further teachings on prayer


Gospel Reading: Lk 11:5-13


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?”


Reflection: Knock and the door will be opened

In emphasizing to the Gentile converts that the Father of Jesus who is now their heavenly Father is ready and willing to give good gifts to his children, Luke re­calls Jesus’ parable about a friend who pays a visit at midnight. A convention associated with friendship in the Hel­lenistic world states that “friends hold all things in common.” Hence, a man is emboldened to ask his friend for loaves of bread. The Jews also have the duty of hospitality, and this is the obligation not of one individual but of the commu­nity. Now, if “friendship” may not make the sleepy friend get out of bed, the knocker’s “persistence” (Greek anaideia, refusal to take “No” for an answer) will do it.

Jesus here teaches that God’s way of giving exceeds that between human friends. God does not have to be “awak­ened.” All one has to do is to approach God with confidence: “Ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened.”

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More than a head filled with facts, we need a heart full of faith and confidence.

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