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Twenty-seventh Week in Ordinary Time

Malachi 3:13-20 & Luke 11:5-13

Life can frequently seem unfair to us. Perhaps a fellow worker – someone who boasts of being a total atheist – gains promotion and you are overlooked. Or the irreligious person seems not to have the financial or health problems you or a loved one face. Why is God not rewarding you for your constancy in faith?

Perhaps you can identify with those Israelites, of whom Malachi speaks, who felt that their worship of God was futile while so many around them – the arrogant, the proud, the selfish, the ungodly – were prospering while they were suffering. Why continue to believe? Malachi understood that our experience of God ought not to be limited to this life. The lives we have here are important only in as much as they lead to the fullness of eternal life with God. This is the hope and the belief that supports our constancy in faith.

In today's reading from Malachi, God assures us that if under adversity we persevere in our faith, our efforts will not be in vain and our names will be written in the “book of remembrance”. But those who lead evil lives will be like stubble, leaving them neither root nor stalk. In the next life they will have nothing to show.

Have you ever stopped to consider how marvellous it is that God loves us? He sees all our sins and selfishness yet still He loves us more than a natural father loves his children. He wants to nurture us more than the most caring of mothers. Who can comprehend such love? Who can perfectly understand such generosity?

If God knows everything we need, why did Jesus teach us to ask, to seek and to knock? Is it to remind God of something He has forgotten? This could hardly be the case since God knows all things! Rather, our petitions remind us how needy we are, testifying aloud to the fact that we are not self-sufficient but dependent on our Father.

When we save our prayers for something really special, or turn to God only when we are in extreme circumstances, we not only dishonour God, we also do ourselves a great disservice.

Parents know that when their children were small, they asked for everything. The plea for a biscuit had the same importance as the plea for a big toy. It was only when they grew older that they learnt to save their requests for something really special.

God wants us to continue to come to Him as innocently as little children come to their parents. He will stop at nothing to care for us and to give us good gifts. Jesus assures us of this when He says, “Ask and you will receive.”

Heavenly Father, as we endure various trails and adversities, may we persevere in our faith and never stop knowing, loving and serving You in this world, to be happy with You in the next. Your ear is always open to the smallest requests that we have. And so we place all our needs before You, confident that You will do what is in our best interests.

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