Intention: That God may bless and protect all those who carry healing and peace to the poor, the abused, and the forgotten people of the world.
Today’s Gospel | Matthew 7:7-12
Jesus said to his disciples: “Ask and it will be given to you; 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. Which one of you would hand his son a stone when he asked for a loaf of bread, or a snake when he asked for a fish? If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good things to those who ask him.
“Do to others whatever you would have them do to you. This is the law and the prophets.”
A Lenten Reflection
It can be argued that today we are living in especially selfish times. It is not necessarily that people are any more inclined to selfishness than in the past, but that today there is greater opportunity, even permission, for it. There is so much available to obsessively covet, from material possessions to social luxury to personal convenience. What’s more, modern wealth and technology make possible, if not encourage, human isolation and detachment. We interact and cooperate less, while our respect and concern for others shrinks.
In Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus speaks to his followers about not hesitating to bring their needs to their Father. He exhorts them to ask for good gifts, offering as examples the things that they would freely give to their own children. His words suggest that our most basic understanding of grace comes from what we do with and for one another. When we experience the meaning of both gift and need, of serving and being served, we approach the core of what it is to be made in the image and likeness of God.
In his book, Voice of Reason, author Bryant McGill wrote, “The greatest joys in life are found not only in what we do and feel, but also in our quiet hopes and labors for others.” The spirit of self-sacrifice is rooted in the reality that we all are agents of one another’s wholeness and partners in one another’s salvation. God calls us to forgo the trap of living only within and for ourselves, and to embrace his call to be fully human. Lent is a time to discover that, in the journey of life, the value of having is that it allows for giving.
Eternal Father, your son gave himself as an offering for those crying out for deliverance from injustice. In this time of Lent, we pray that we will have the courage to follow him, to help bring your wholeness to the brokenness in our world. Make us strong for any of our sisters and brothers that we might be able to serve. May we turn away from the sin that hardens our hearts to them and embrace the compassion that empowers us to live with them as your children. We ask this of you who lives and reigns with your Son and the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. Amen.