Dear brothers and sisters,
We’re celebrating the 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time – but for a Christian, there is no such thing as “ordinary” time. G.K. Chesterton reportedly affirmed that being a Christian changes everything – even the way you brush your teeth. This is because we are beloved sons and daughters of God. We are called to become increasingly aware of this, and to let that realization inform the way we act. God wants to change us from the inside out; and that means he changes our prayer from the ordinary to the extraordinary by changing us as we pray. What does he ask of us? He asks that we pray with confidence in him (confidence is another name for faith. In fact, it comes from the Latin com-fidere, “to trust, have faith”). In today’s Gospel Jesus gives us a primer on the power of praying with confidence. He tells us “Ask and you will receive, seek and you will find. Knock and the door will be opened to you.” Then, he gives us some of the most powerful and encouraging lines in the gospel: “For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” In other words, God wants to answer our prayers, if we’re praying as his sons and daughters. That means that we pray with unlimited faith, praying that HIS will be done. After all, he is our Father, and he is infinitely good. He wants our happiness. Jesus reminds of that in the gospel, when he asks “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?” It’s true: our earthly parents are imperfect, but if we asked them for an egg very few of them would hand us a scorpion instead. Thus, Jesus goes on to remind us that if we, who are sinners, give good things to our children, how much more will God give the Holy Spirit to those who ask. If we ask, we will receive God. If we seek, we will find God. If we knock, the door of our hearts will be opened to God’s life-changing presence. Our part is to pray with unlimited faith in God’s power and his goodness.