Posted by: frburke23 | February 18, 2016

Thought for Thursday, 1st Week of Lent

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.”
Yesterday I had the opportunity to speak to the 7th and 8th graders at St. Pius X Catholic School in Lombard, IL. It was a wonderful experience to interact with youth who are searching for meaning and purpose in their lives. I always encourage them to follow this Gospel reading – to ask, to seek, to knock. We should be specific with our prayers with God. However, the ultimate prayer is to say, “Thy will be done.” (Matthew 6:10) Jesus taught us to seek the Father’s will in the Our Father. And Mary told the angel Gabriel, “Let it be done to me according to thy will.” (Luke 1:38)
This reading today makes me think of a question I have heard frequently. “Is it ok to pray for myself?” I always refer to this Scripture reading. Jesus asks us to pray, to be persistent and to be specific. But the ultimate prayer is to ask for God’s will to be done. Prayer is not about changing God’s mind, but it is about conforming our will to the will of God.
A misunderstanding of this reading can make us think that God is a magician. He tells us to ask and we will receive. We may then wonder why God does not answer our prayers the way we want Him to do so. Why would God ask me to seek, ask and knock and then not answer my prayers? St. Augustine once said that if we received everything we wanted from God when we wanted it, we would be spoiled brats.
My good friend Fr. Dennis defines sin as “I want what I want right now.” I would then say that holiness can be defined as “I want what God wants when He wants it.”
We should be specific when we petition God – for our needs, the needs of others – but finish every prayer by asking that God’s will be done. We can truly have peace when we are living according to God’s holy will and trust that He desires only the best for us.
God is not going to give us a stone when we ask for bread. God is going to give us what we need, when we need it. This is so important to realize. Pray with your whole heart, mind and soul. Seek, knock and ask. But submit your will to the will of God. He loves us and His timing and His will are best for us.
How do I pray?
Do I trust God and His holy will for me?
Am I willing to surrender everything to God?
Have a blessed day!
Fr. Burke
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Spanish translation:
MATEO 7:7-12
En aquel tiempo, Jesús dijo a sus discípulos: “Pidan y se les dará; busquen y encontrarán; toquen y se les abrirá. Porque todo el que pide, recibe; el que busca, encuentra; y al que toca, se le abre.
¿Hay acaso entre ustedes alguno que le dé una piedra a su hijo, si éste le pide pan? Y si le pide pescado, ¿le dará una serpiente? Si ustedes, a pesar de ser malos, saben dar cosas buenas a sus hijos, con cuánta mayor razón el Padre, que está en los cielos, dará cosas buenas a quienes se las pidan.
Traten a los demás como quieren que ellos los traten a ustedes. En esto se resumen la ley y los profetas”.
Ayer tuve la oportunidad de hablar con los alumnos de los grados 7º y 8º en la Escuela Católica, St. Pius X Catholic School en Lombard, IL. Fue una experiencia maravillosa interactuar con los jóvenes que buscan el sentido y propósito en sus vidas. Yo siempre les animo a seguir esta lectura del Evangelio – de pedir, buscar, tocar. Debemos ser específicos con nuestra oración con Dios. Sin embargo, la oración final, es decir, “Hágase tu voluntad.” (Mateo 6:10) Jesús nos enseñó a buscar la voluntad del Padre en el Padre Nuestro. Y María le dijo al ángel Gabriel, “Hágase en mí según tu voluntad.” (Lucas 1:38)
Esta lectura de hoy me hace pensar en una pregunta que he escuchado frecuentemente. “¿Está bien rezar por mí?” Siempre me refiero a esta lectura de la Escritura. Jesús nos pide orar, ser persistentes y ser específicos. Pero la oraciónfinal es pedir que la voluntad de Dios se haga. La oración no se trata de cambiar la mente de Dios, sino que se trataconformar nuestra voluntad a la voluntad de Dios.
Un malentendido de esta lectura puede hacernos pensar que Dios es un mago. Él nos dice que pidamos y vamos a recibir. Luego podemos preguntarnos por qué Dios no responde a nuestras oraciones en la forma que queremos que lo haga. ¿Por qué Dios me pediría que busque, pida y toque y luego no responda a mis oraciones? San Agustín dijo una vez que si recibimos todo lo que queríamos de Dios cuando lo quisimos, seríamos niños malcriados.
Mi buen amigo el Padre Dennis define el pecado como “Quiero lo que quiero ahora mismo.” Entonces me gustaría decir que la santidad se puede definir como “Quiero lo que Dios quiere, cuando Él quiere.”
Debemos ser específicos cuando le rogamos a Dios – por nuestras necesidades, las necesidades de los demás – pero terminamos cada oración pidiendo que la voluntad de Dios se haga. Realmente podemos tener paz cuando estamos viviendo de acuerdo a la santa voluntad de Dios y confiar en que Él desea sólo lo mejor para nosotros.
Dios no nos dará una piedra cuando pedimos pan. Dios nos dará lo que necesitamos, cuando lo necesitamos. Esto es tan importante de darse cuenta. Reza con todo tu corazón, mente y alma. Busca, toca y pide. Pero somete tu voluntad a la voluntad de Dios. Él nos ama y Su tiempo y Su voluntad son los mejores para nosotros.
¿Cómo rezo?
¿Confío en Dios y en Su santa voluntad para mí?
¿Estoy dispuesto a entregarle todo a Dios?
¡Que tengas un día bendecido!
Padre Burke
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  1. Fr. Burke, Thank-you for your message on today’s scripture. I will say a rosary for vocations today. Glad you enjoyed your visit to Scared Heart in Lombard. The 7th & 8th graders I am sure, feel blessed to have you talk to them about vocations & Jesus. Last night I watched as the Mexican Bishops, and Priests, distributed communion to crowds of thousands. Pope Francis visit to them brings much goodness through the Holy Spirit. I watched as they received the holy communion, and as the bowed their heads and prayed to God. Peace be with you!

  2. I love the Father Dennis reference!!!🙂

  3. Thanks, Fr Burke! I always look forward to your daily scripture readings and homily. Your insight inspires me. I believe that God won’t give us everything we ask and pray for. He knows what we need most .. it’s amazing when I stop, think, and realize that the Grace I’ve received is just what I needed at the moment at the time.. and even more amazed when I get something better than what I’ve prayed for. Only He knows what’s best for us. I have had disappointments when things I’ve carefully planned didn’t materialize. I believe and trust Him that it’s for a reason… or the time is not right. I thank Him everyday for being present in my life.

    God Bless you!

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