Homily – 17th Sunday OT C 7/25/10

Homily – 17th Sunday OT C 7/25/10

The Importunate Neighbour by William Holman Hunt, 1895

Jesus tells us in today’s Gospel Ask and you will receive – Ask in prayer, and you will receive what you pray for.

This is one of those passages where we might be tempted to think the Bible is wrong.

Probably most if not all of us have asked God for things in prayer, and haven’t received them.

Sometimes it even seems like God’s sending us snakes and scorpions instead of the Fish and Eggs we ask Him for.

So what’s the problem? Why do we many times not seem to get what we pray for?

The problem is that Jesus didn’t say “Ask and you will receive, period.” There’s more to the sentence: What he said was “Ask and you will receive, Seek and you will find, Knock, and the door will be opened to you.”

Asking, Seeking and Knocking, are like the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, they are inseparable from each other when it comes to prayer.

In other words, Jesus says to us, “Ask for anything in prayer, and God will answer you – but you need to go seek God out to get it! He’s not going to bring it to you, He wants you to come get it from Him. Seek, and you will find. And the only way to God is through the narrow gate, and up the narrow road.

And once we have finished this seeking, once we’ve got off the wide road that leads to destruction and climbed up that narrow path of holiness which leads to life, even after all that seeking, then we have to knock on God’s door to please come out and give us the answer to our prayer. And nine times out of ten, God won’t open the door on the first or second knock.

Then and only then, will we obtain from our Heavenly Father what we have prayed for, and we will appreciate it all the more because of the effort it took to get it.

Yes, my brothers and sisters, prayer isn’t as simple and easy as it looks. To become a master at prayer, to pray effectively, takes great effort on our part.

Take a close look at the parable Jesus gives us on prayer.

This man goes out at midnight, not to the neighbor next door, but miles away to his friends house to ask His friend to help him.

And back in Jesus’ day, the man wouldn’t have just hopped in his car, drove down a paved road all lit up with street lights, and got there in a couple of minutes.

This man would have rather set out on foot, in the dark, down dirt roads and paths, with only a lantern to light his way.

He would have to be concerned about bad weather, biting insects, wild animals, and thieves as he made his way in the night to his friends house.

But the man in the parable willingly made that difficult journey, and didn’t turn back, because one, he cared greatly for his needy friend and would do anything for him, and two, the man knew that the friend he was journeying to would give him the help that nobody else could give.

Jesus is teaching us in this parable that to pray well takes the same love for others, the same faith in God’s power to answer our prayers, the same sacrifice of time and comfort, the same courage to turn away from sin and to seek the dark narrow way of holiness which leads to God, the same persistence in knocking on God’s door until He answers us.

Through this Holy Eucharist may Our Lord give us the grace to keep asking, keep seeking, keep knocking, until God throws the door wide open and pours out His Holy Spirit in abundance upon us and those we pray for.

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