“Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for bread, will give a stone? Or if the child asks for a fish, will give a snake? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him!
“In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
I think the Rolling Stones summed up what Jesus is getting at in today’s Gospel: “You can’t always get what you want…you get what you need.” It may feel like I have been given a snake when I asked for a fish, but Jesus reminds us that God is omniscient (all-knowing), omnipotent (all-powerful), and omnipresent. God knows our deepest needs and desires, the seeds that need watering in our hearts, the weeds that need pulled from the gardens of our souls.
God knows that what we really need is him. The answers to our deepest prayers always have the potential to bring us into closer relationship with him, whether or not we receive what we ask for originally. God is not a genie in a bottle, but he “gives good things to those who ask him.” Today’s Gospel could read, “Ask and I will be given to you; seek and you will find Me; knock and the door to Me will be opened to you.” What better gift can God give us than himself?
—Rachel Fitzgibbon serves as Retreat Coordinator at Bellarmine Jesuit Retreat House, Barrington IL.
“Fill me with your Holy Spirit, the supreme Gift,
according to your promise.
I don’t know how to ask rightly,
so I sit here waiting, asking you to pray in me,
asking for what you most want to bestow, your Holy Spirit.”
—Fr. Thomas Keating, The Gifts of the Spirit