Thursday, March 1, 2012

Ask, Seek, Knock... The Right Way!


The Word: Mt 7:7-12

Jesus said: “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 asks for a loaf of bread,  or a snake when he asks 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.”



I've heard many people complain to God: “You're so unfair, Lord! Doesn't the Bible say, 'Ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you?' Well, I've been praying for “this and that” for so many years already, but why haven't you granted my prayers until now?!”

Well, the thing with the Bible is that we shouldn't take everything too literally. Jesus himself sometimes spoke in ways that were confusing to his disciples:

“I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” - Mt 10:34 or

“They will mock him, insult him, spit on him. On the third day he will rise again.
The disciples did not understand any of this.” - Lk 18:32-34 

And so as we read and study Scripture, we have to be very discerning and learn to “read through the lines.” In today's gospel, what is unwritten and what we are left to discover for ourselves, is that God will grant our prayers only when we ASK, SEEK AND KNOCK according to His Most Holy Will! If the “this and that” which we insist on praying for will eventually harm us instead of bless us, you can be sure that God won't answer THIS prayer in THAT way.  

The gospel also says, “Which one of you would hand his son a stone when he asks for a loaf of bread or a snake when he asks for a fish?” In the same way, if you became greedy and asked your parents for a truckload of bread, instead of just the loaf you need, chances are, your parents will not give this to you because they know it would not be good for you. In fact the Letter of James has a warning on this:  “You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, in order to spend what you get on your pleasures” (Jam 4:3).

And so when we say the “ask, seek, knock” prayer, we need to first bring to mind a more important lesson that God teaches us which we often sing at Sunday Mass:

“Seek ye first, the kingdom of God and his righteousness,
And all these things shall be added unto you.” – Mt. 6:33.

- Fr. Randy Flores, SVD
  Divine Word Seminary – Tagaytay City

* The WORD in Other Words Bible Diary is an annual project of Logos Publications containing daily scripture readings and reflections written by priests, brothers and sisters of the congregations founded by St. Arnold Janssen (the SVD and SSps).  It hopes to serve as a daily companion to readers who continually seek the correlation of the Word of God and human experience.