- John 16:23-28
- The Coming Day
I do not know if you notice that in the opening prayer of the Mass, the prayer is addressed to God the Father. But towards the end of the prayer, we say, “We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ…” In other words, when we pray, we should address our prayer to God the Father through Jesus Christ.
In today’s gospel Jesus says: “Whatever you ask the Father in my name He will give you,” (v. 23). He is saying that our prayer should be addressed to the Father, but ‘in my name’, that is, in the presence of Jesus and through Him. In the Liturgical celebration this is the pattern of prayer. The Eucharistic prayer is invariably addressed to the Father, ‘through Him (Jesus), with Him and in Him, in the unity of the Holy Spirit.’ All our prayer has the pattern of the Trinity stamped on it.
Somebody said that this does not mean that we should never pray to anyone but the Father. In the Catholic tradition we feel free to pray to Jesus, Mary and the saints, but always in the full knowledge that the Father is the ultimate destination of all prayer, just as every stream, even the raindrops streaming down your window pane, is making its way to the sea.
In relation to this, David Jeremiah in his Prayer, the Great Adventure (pp. 89-90) said that when John F. Kennedy was President of the United States, Life magazine published photos of his children, John Jr. and Caroline, playing with their toys on the floor of the Oval Office. Those images captured the hearts of the American people like nothing before or since. Why? D. Jeremiah thought that it’s because it bridged a gap between two thoughts: Kennedy was the President of the United States, but he was also a father. He held ultimate political power in the Free World, but playing at his feet were two little kids who called him Daddy. I don’t think your kids would have been allowed to do that. Nor mine. But his kids were. Why? He was their father. He was not only President of the United States; he was also their dad.
In the same way, God is both our Father and the Lord of glory. We can approach Him confidently in prayer because we are His dearly beloved children, but we must never forget that He is also the Sovereign of the universe.
At the end, again let us reflect this anecdote that I read. A man arrives in heaven, and St. Peter is showing him around. After a while, they pass by a large warehouse, and the man inquires what is inside. “Oh, you don’t want to see that,” protests St. Peter. The man’s curiosity is piqued, and he demands to see inside. St. Peter opens the door, and they see a warehouse full of wonderful things, stacked to the rafters. “Why didn’t you want me to see this?” the man demands. “It all looks wonderful!” “Well,” says St. Peter, “I thought it might make you sad. You see, those are all the things God had ready to give you, if you had only asked for them in prayer.
God also knows where we are. And so let us place ourselves in His hands, concentrate on knowing His will for our lives and He will never forsake or forget us.