Thursday of the 1st Week of Lent

Matt 7:7-12

The Answer to Prayers

OTHER HOMILY SOURCES:

Our Gospel today speaks precisely about prayer, about calling out to God. In our life, it is important to lay our trust and confidence in the Lord. We are all called to come to Him at all times. But our relationship with Him through prayer must not remain superficial as in the experience of Bruce. It must emanate from the heart: honest, loving and faithful. (Frt. Ruel F. Lero, SVD Bible Diary 2004)

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As a spiritual director for many years, I have guided many to see the ways and movements of God in their lives. It has not been uncommon that I come across people who were angry with God or ‘nagtatampo sa Dios,’ to say the least. Oftentimes, the cause of the anger or ‘tampo’ was because their prayer requests had not been granted. Doesn’t this sound familiar to you? Indeed, it might have been your experience, too.

Thus, I believe that we should take our Lord’s words on praying in today’s gospel with much caution. It is not that we do not believe in His words at all. But what I mean is that we see to it that we are not led to falsely believe that God will always give us what we want and AS WE WANT IT! For sure, God can say, “NO!” or “Not yet” to our requests. We should just take utmost confidence that He knows what is best for anyone of us. Let us allow God to be God lest we end up dictating to Him how things ought to be. (Fr. Emmanuel Meguito, SVD Bible Diary 2005)

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A father came home from work and found his four-year old daughter crying in the yard. He stooped down to ask why she was crying. The child responded that she was frustrated, because she could not move a big stone to the side. The father asked her if she had used all the means to move the stone. She said she had tried to push it but it won’t budge. She tried to dig it up but it did not work either. Then she tried to use a stick like a lever and still the stone remained immovable. The father asked her once more whether she had used all the means and she said yes. Then the father asked her if she had asked him to help her. The tears were gone from her eyes and she smiled shyly, assured that it will be all right.

Today as we venture into the first week of Lent, we are given the first guide to develop our spiritual life. We only need to ask, seek, knock…in a word, pray and we will be close to our heavenly Father. If we, humans as we are, could recognize the goodness of parents towards their children, Jesus reminds us today that our heavenly Father is far more caring. If we believe this and live it, we can do a lot of good to others, too. Jesus’ words, “Do to others what you would have them do to you,” will automatically become more real and understandable why it is a must for all followers of Jesus to do so. (Fr. Carlos Lariosa, SVD Bible Diary 2007)

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A layman who was widely known for his use of the term “amen” was asked on one occasion why he used it: “What do you mean when you say ‘amen’ at the end of a prayer?” “I mean just this: ‘God, I am working with you that this may be true, but I am willing to receive anyone of your three replies: yes, no or wait.’”

This perfectly captures our attitude to every prayer we utter. “Amen” expresses that God the Father knows best; that He answers all our prayers; and that His concern is always what is good for us. Simply, as Jesus points out, God the Father gives us only the “good things.” The primary purpose of prayer is to make us good Christians and not to solve life’s problems. God answers our prayer in His own way which is one of perfect wisdom and perfect love. Expecting an answer to our prayer the way we desire could be the worst thing that could happen to us because, in our ignorance, we often ask for gifts which could lead to our ruin. (Fr. Jose Caballes, SVD Bible Diary 2008)

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February 11, 2016 Thursday

On one occasion, a rather outspoken young lady blurted out that she could not be a nun because of Jesus’ mandate: “…If you will be a follower of mine, deny yourself and take up your cross and follow me.” (v. 23). She said, “I love money and material things and I want to be my own boss.”

Obviously, she believed that following Christ or discipleship is only for priests and religious and not for lay people. She missed the rst part of v.23 –“Jesus said to all people…” Of course, her blatant declaration would make a vocation promoter hesitate to” waste time” on her.

This lady is only one of the many young people today who are immersed in materialism and consumerism; whose sanctuary are the malls, the internet cafes, the disco pubs. Sad to say, in the Philippines the majority of these young people are baptized Christians. Christian means follower of Christ. Unfortunately, as PCP II reports, most Filipinos are sacramentalized but not evangelized.

In today’s “easy life” facilitated by access to technology, people are no longer attuned to pain and suffering. Sacrifice, patience, perseverance, etc., sound alien and meaningless. So when faced with hardships, quit! When conflict is not resolved, get a divorce!

Something is missing –LOVE! Love nurtures patience, delity, commitment. LOVE is of God. GOD IS LOVE. CHRIST brings God’s love to us through his sufferingdeath and rising. The question is who is Christ for me? (Sr. Angelita Roferos, SSpS | CHS, Manila Bible Diary 2016)

rveritas-asia.org/index.php/daily-reflection/451-february-11-2016-thursday

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PRAYER IS STRENGTH: Prayer is our strength. Prayer is a strong tool. Where does prayer get its strength? The strength of prayer does not come from the one who prays. The strength of prayer comes from the one to whom it is addressed.

In other words, prayer does not become a strong tool because we pray. Prayer becomes strong on account of the God to whom we pray. We only become strong if we depend on God. Our strength does not come from within us. Our strength comes from outside of us, from the one we lean on, from the one we depend on, from the one we stand on.

When we pray, we become strong, not because prayer in itself is strength. We become strong not because of our own strength but on account of the one to whom we pray. Let us not forget that principle because sometimes we begin to think that when we pray God becomes weaker, when we pray we have the power to change God. That is not the intention of prayer. The strength of prayer does not come from us. The strength of prayer comes from the one we rely on: God! (Bp. Soc Villegas, DD Love Like Jesus p. 171)

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Thursday of the 1st Week of Lent (A)

Matthew 7:7-12. What are the goods that we usually ask God in prayer? Some people might be praying for a cellphone, laptop, car or house; others might be asking for jobs, business opportunity, spouse, or health; while some others may be praying for understanding, love and affection. Jesus says, “Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you.” To properly understand this passage, we need to remember that the goods of God mean more than money or material things; they are above all the spiritual goods of the kingdom such as peace, justice, mercy and forgiveness. May we learn to ask the Lord for things that really matter in our life with Him so that our joy may be genuine and complete! Amen. ( Abet Uy)

abetuy.blogspot.com/2014/03/monday-of-1st-week-of-lent-a.html

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THURSDAY OF THE 1ST WEEK OF LENT (YEAR B) – MATEO 7:7-12. Paminawon ba sa Dios ang atong mga pag-ampo? Si Kristo nag-ingon, “Pangayo ug hatagan kamo.” Apan, sumala sa atong kasinati-an, daghan sa atong mga gipangayo sa Dios diha sa pag-ampo wala mahatagi’g katumanan. Tungod niini, adunay mga tawo nga maluya sa pag-ampo, ug ang uban mawad-an sa pagtoo. Unsa man diay gipasabot sa Iyang giingon, “Pangayo ug hatagan kamo?” Ang Dios motubag sa mga pag-ampo sa 3 ka paagi: Una, “Oo” tungod kay angayan kini ihatag kanimo; ikaduha, “Dili” tungod kay kini makadaot para kanimo; ug ikatulo, “Dili sa” tungod kay ang pinakanindot giandam pa para kanimo. Busa, kon dili nato madawat ang atong gi-ampo sa Dios, dili kita angay mangluod. Sabton nato nga ang Dios, nga maoy labing maalamon ug mahigugmaon, nasayod unsay angay ug dili angay para kanato. Posted by Abet Uy

abetuy.blogspot.com/2015/02/thursday-of-1st-week-of-lent-year-b.html

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Wednesday, February 17, 2016

THURSDAY OF THE 1ST WEEK OF LENT (YEAR C) – MATEO 7:7-12. TUBAGON BA SA DIOS ANG ATONG MGA PAG-AMPO? Si Kristo nag-ingon, “Pangayo ug hatagan kamo.” Apan, sumala sa atong kasinati-an, daghan sa atong mga gipangayo sa Dios diha sa pag-ampo wala mahatagi’g katumanan. Tungod niini, adunay mga tawo nga maluya sa pag-ampo, ug ang uban mawad-ag pagtoo. Dili unta kini mahitabo kanato. Atong sabton nga ang Dios motubag sa mga pag-ampo sa 3 ka paagi: Una, “Oo” tungod kay angayan kini ihatag kanimo; ikaduha, “Dili” tungod kay kini makadaot para kanimo; ug ikatulo, “Dili pa karon” tungod kay wala pa sa sakto nga panahon. Busa, kon dili nato madawat ang atong gi-ampo sa Dios, dili kita angay’ng mangluod. Matod pa sa usa ka magsusulat: “When God gives you a NO, it is not rejection, it is redirection.” Posted by Abet Uy

abetuy.blogspot.com/2016/02/thursday-of-1st-week-of-lent-year-c.html

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Reflection: God is gracious, God is good!

Today’s gospel is an assurance that God listens to our prayers. The biblical verse: “Ask and you shall receive. Seek, and you will find. Knock and it will be opened to you,” (v. 70 tells us that God attends to our needs. he answers our requests. he really cares for us. What God gives is for our own good. What we receive from him is what is best for us. This shows that God is merciful and full of compassion. He will make things easier or us. Je will make everything comforting and rewarding for us. The gospel affirms, “How much more will your heavenly Father give good things to those who ask him,: (v. 11).

But it is not just a matter of asking or knocking (v. 28). We should be persistent. We should be full of trust. We should be patient. As for knocking, we must show intense desire. We should be persistent, earnestly and consistently hoping and waiting. Thus, we don’t walk away. We don’t give up. We stay. We remain. We wait for God.

Also today’s gospel gives us a gracious opportunity to reflect deeper on what we really need to ask and seek from God. Do we ask for the things that will also be for the good of others? do we seek what will also be most beneficial for them? Let us not ask for the impossible. Let us not seek what will undermine our personal salvation. Let us not ask for what will be detrimental and disadvantageous to others.

Remember the parting words of Jesus in today’s gospel, “Do to others whatever you would have them do to you,” (v. 12).

Story: Roberto was a tourist in Rome. He was walking along Piazza Navona late in the night. Then, a thief held him up and demanded his wallet. But there was no money in his wallet. The frustrated thief remarked: “You are a tourist and you don’t have money. What kind of tourist are you?” Roberto replied that his money was secretly hidden in his belt. The thief immediately got the belt. In the middle of the center of the belt was a small zipper. The thief opened it and true enough there were five hundred dollars. The thief was surprised that the tourist revealed where his money was. So he asked, “Why did you tell me where your money was hidden?”

Roberto answered, “My mother always repeated to me three things that I must always do as I grow older. First, I must always pray to God. Second, I must always do good things to others.  And lastly, I must always tell the truth.” The thief regrettably remarked, “If my mother told me those three things, surely I would never have ended up a thief.”

Challenges: What are the good things that I must do to my family and friends? What are the good things I must perform with my co-workers in the office and with my employers? Recall the good things we have experienced and received from God. Have we shared them with others? (Msgr. Ruperto C. Santos STL, Jesus Serves and Saves Us!, Makati: St. Pauls, 2003:44-46).

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THE AWESOME POWER OF AS KING IN PRAYER – “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you…”– Matthew 7:7

At a seminar my wife and I attended, the speaker told us to write down our dreams. Dreaming is free anyway, so we wrote crazy things like a European trip, a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, establishing an orphanage, putting up a family business, and other outrageous fantasies.

I was poor and jobless then. The company I worked for had just closed down. My wife was a full-time homemaker. So those dreams were really wild. But the speaker told us to pray about them daily and believe God had already granted them.

That blew my mind. But obey the speaker’s instructions we did. And so we asked God — and asked again and again. Lo and behold, each and every one of those crazy dreams turned into reality. We were transformed from being blessed to becoming blessers and mighty believers.

Ours indeed is a big God and His blessings are limitless. We just have to ask, pray and persist in praying. So go ahead, ask God. Rey Ortega (reylindo.ortega@gmail.com)

Reflection: When you ask God for something huge and ambitious, do you pray timidly, doubting that you don’t deserve what you’re asking for? Or do you believe that God’s deepest desire is to make you happy and whole? Believe the latter.

Lord God, I love You and I know that You love me. I offer to You my dreams and I thank You in advance for granting them.

kerygmafamily.com/modules/dailyreadings/read.php?date=2015-02-26

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THE WAY UP IS DOWN – One time I happened to catch Jordan Belfort being interviewed by Piers Morgan at CNN. Jordan Belfort is a sweet-talking con man, a scheming stockbroker who duped countless investors of their hard-earned dollars in the stock market. He was convicted and spent 22 months in jail for fraud and money laundering. His life was recently made into a movie, The Wolf of Wall Street, starring Leonardo DiCaprio. Claiming that he has made a turnaround of his life, he now goes around as a motivational speaker.

What I found interesting was that Belfort described himself as always being very driven. At one point, he indirectly alluded to the biblical admonition, “ask, seek and knock,” as a driving force to always getting on top, not taking no for an answer, and always getting what he wanted.

I remember a scene in the movie where Belfort would sweet-talk a client on the phone while giving him the dirty finger at the same time.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus says to His listeners, “Ask and you will receive, seek and you shall find, knock and the door will be opened unto you.” It is an admonition to persevere in getting what our hearts desire but not in the way Wall Street preaches it. I find the following quote from F.B. Meyer inspiring as it is enlightening: “I used to think that God’s gifts were on shelves one above the other, and that the taller we grew in Christian character the easier we should reach them. I find now that God’s gifts are on shelves one beneath the other, and that it is not a question of growing taller but of stooping lower, and that we have to go down, always down, to get His best gifts.”

In the Gospel according to Wall Street, success comes with conquering the ladder of success, always going up and never looking down. If you need to step on others or push them out of position, so be it.

In the Gospel of Jesus, the paradox of success is in the trajectory it takes: the only way to get up is to go down. Fr. Joel Jason

REFLECTION QUESTION: Which Gospel drives you on the road to success?

Psalm 127:1: “If the Lord does not build the house, in vain do the builders labor.” Amen.

kerygmafamily.com/modules/dailyreadings/read.php?date=2015-02-26

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THE WAY UP IS DOWN – One time I happened to catch Jordan Belfort being interviewed by Piers Morgan at CNN. Jordan Belfort is a sweet-talking con man, a scheming stockbroker who duped countless investors of their hard-earned dollars in the stock market. He was convicted and spent 22 months in jail for fraud and money laundering. His life was recently made into a movie, The Wolf of Wall Street, starring Leonardo DiCaprio. Claiming that he has made a turnaround of his life, he now goes around as a motivational speaker.

What I found interesting was that Belfort described himself as always being very driven. At one point, he indirectly alluded to the biblical admonition, “ask, seek and knock,” as a driving force to always getting on top, not taking no for an answer, and always getting what he wanted.

I remember a scene in the movie where Belfort would sweet-talk a client on the phone while giving him the dirty finger at the same time.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus says to His listeners, “Ask and you will receive, seek and you shall find, knock and the door will be opened unto you.” It is an admonition to persevere in getting what our hearts desire but not in the way Wall Street preaches it. I find the following quote from F.B. Meyer inspiring as it is enlightening: “I used to think that God’s gifts were on shelves one above the other, and that the taller we grew in Christian character the easier we should reach them. I find now that God’s gifts are on shelves one beneath the other, and that it is not a question of growing taller but of stooping lower, and that we have to go down, always down, to get His best gifts.”

In the Gospel according to Wall Street, success comes with conquering the ladder of success, always going up and never looking down. If you need to step on others or push them out of position, so be it.

In the Gospel of Jesus, the paradox of success is in the trajectory it takes: the only way to get up is to go down. Fr. Joel Jason

REFLECTION QUESTION: Which Gospel drives you on the road to success?

Psalm 127:1: “If the Lord does not build the house, in vain do the builders labor.” Amen.

kerygmafamily.com/modules/dailyreadings/read.php?date=2015-02-26

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February 11, 2016

REFLECTION: Everybody wants to be happy, but unfortunately a lot of people do not know how they can become happy. They set about to conquer happiness itself, like an elusive butterfly who forever escapes their avid chase. But, if they listened to Jesus as he speaks in today’s gospel reading, they would learn that happiness comes to you of its own accord (the butterfly lands on your shoulder when you have given up chasing after it!), when you stop looking for it. Happiness comes when you seek the happiness of those around you, forgetting your dear little ego and its endless claims for attention. That is what Jesus means when he speaks of “denying yourself” and “losing your life.” We find happiness when we stop looking for it and become intent on making others happy. Correlatively, the most bored and miserable people are those whose whole life revolves around their navel. Here Jesus is giving us a royal road to happiness—and it passes through our neighbor’s back yard!

CLARETIAN COMMUNICATIONS FOUNDATION, INC.

8 Mayumi Street, U.P. Village, Diliman, 1101 Quezon City, Philippines

Tel.: (02) 921-3984, 922-9806 • Fax: (02) 921-6205

schoolofthewordonline.com/scriptural-library/daily-gospel/english/item/3440-february-11-2016

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See Today’s Readings:  Year I,   Year II

Back to: Thursday of the 1st Week of Lent

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