“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.
We live in a culture that pushes us to strive for what’s new, what’s next, and what’s better. It’s tempting to think that I never have enough and I never am enough. Not so, Fr. Greg Boyle, SJ, tells us: “You are exactly who God had in mind when God created you … you could not be one bit better.”
Today’s Gospel is not about asking God for more, like one might imagine a genie granting wishes. It is instead a reminder to trust that God provides exactly what we most deeply desire. When we feel restless, it’s actually a blessing, an indication that we cannot be fulfilled by things. “Our hearts are restless until they rest in You, O Lord,” St. Augustine wrote. God never tires of giving Godself to us. This gift—which we call grace—not only fulfills us, but it makes everything possible; it builds on and perfects our human nature so we can cooperate with God in the world. Today’s Gospel invites me to ponder: How can I be more attentive and responsive to grace so I can cooperate with God this day?
This passage concludes with the Golden Rule: treat others the way you would like to be treated. Since we don’t always know how others would like to be treated, some have suggested a revised version, the so-called Platinum Rule: treat others the way they would like to be treated. (I like Wendell Berry’s version: treat those downstream as you would like those upstream to treat you.) It’s easy to get stuck thinking about how others have wronged me or to become preoccupied by thinking about how others might take advantage of me, if I’m not careful. But today’s Gospel interrupts that defensive mentality and calls us to be agents of grace and courtesy. If I trust that I am enough—and I don’t have to prove it or be protective all the time—then how can I help others see that they, too, are enough?
Good and Gracious God, thank you for the gift of yourself and thank you for the gift of myself. Help me to more deeply trust that your grace is all that I need to be the person you know that I am. Let me tune my heart and mind into your loving presence so that I can cooperate with you this day. Empower us—the whole church—to incarnate your love in the world.
—Dr. Marcus Mescher
Please share the Good Word with your friends!