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THE GOD WHO FREED HIS PEOPLE ANSWERS OUR PRAYERS

Father Francis's picture
Thirty-second Week in Ordinary Time

3 Jn. 5-8 & Lk. 18:1-8

Saint John is writing to a man named Gaius in today's First Reading, praising him for welcoming strangers who are spreading love for Jesus among pagans. He encourages Gaius to look after them on their travels as they do not expect remuneration from pagans. Such generosity would have the approval of God.

How often have we heard people say, 'God never answers my prayers'? This implies that He is deaf to our cries for help – but is He? Far from it! He is a loving Father who cares for us when we need Him most. Sometimes the things we ask God for may not be for our good. It is like a youth on leaving school who begs his parents for a motorbike. They are not prepared to give him one. They have good reasons. They know he is reckless, and they can see that a motorbike in his hands could be a lethal weapon. They refuse his request because they love their son.

Sometimes the things we ask God for are very good. We may pray that there will be no more starvation in the world and, of course, God does not want to see any of His children starving. But many are hungry as the result of civil war, and because money that should have been spent on feeding the people is spent on arms. God has given those who are in power free will. It is they who tie His hands.

There are times when we ask God to cure a sick relation, or to have a successful operation, but without success. Why not? What we must remember is that God is in charge and He cannot do anything wrong. He has His own good reasons why the sick person is not cured or the operation is not successful. When we pray we should take all our problems and worries to God but our attitude should be like the leper in the Gospel, “Lord, if it is Your will, You can cure me”. And we should add, 'I know Your will for me will be best'. A plea like that has to be the right approach to God!

The Church following the dictate of Jesus always concludes her prayers, “Through Jesus Christ Our Lord”. That is how we too should pray. Our Father in Heaven will always grant whatever we ask of Him when it is according to the mind of Christ.

In the parable of the persistent widow Jesus teaches us that His Father listens to our prayer, but He may not grant our wishes straightaway for, often, our hearts are not ready to receive His gifts. That is why persistence is so important. If we pray without giving up, we should become more convinced that God will answer our prayers, which is a necessary condition for God to answer them.

Lord Jesus, may we be persistent in our prayers and may our hearts be ready to receive whatever You send us, which we know will always be for our good.

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