[MOL] Fwd: MATTHEW 7:7-12: THURSDAY'S GOSPEL [03219] Medicine On Line

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Date:	2/23/99 10:19:17 PM Pacific Standard Time
From:	mtuazon@ix.netcom.com (Manuel Tuazon)
Reply-to:	early-word-request@cin.org
To:	early-word@cin.org

[Note: The scheduled Reading for today, Esther C:12, 14-16, 23-25, is 
taken from the Old Testament.  The "Navarre Bible: Texts and
Commentaries" is currently available in the New Testament only. 
Therefore, only today's Gospel and its commentary are being posted.]

Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam (To the Greater Glory of God)

For: Thursday, February 25, 1999

1st Week of Lent

From: Matthew 7:7-12

The Effectiveness of Prayer
(Jesus told His disciples,) [7] "Ask, and it will be given you; seek,
and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.  [8] For every
one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it
will be opened.  [9] Or what man of you, if his son asks him for bread,
will give him a stone?  [10] Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a
serpent?  [11] If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts
to your children, how much more will your Father who is in Heaven give
good things to those who ask Him!  

The Golden Rule
[12] "So whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them; for
this is the law and the prophets."


7-11. Here the Master teaches us in a number of ways about the
effectiveness of prayer.  Prayer is a raising of mind and heart to God
to adore Him, to praise Him, to thank Him and to ask Him for what we
need (cf. "St. Pius X Catechism", 255).  Jesus emphasizes the need for
petitionary prayer, which is the first spontaneous movement of a soul
who recognizes God as his Creator and Father.  As God's creature and
child, each of us needs to ask Him humbly for everything.  

In speaking of the effectiveness of prayer, Jesus does not put any
restriction: "Every one who asks receives", because God is our Father.
St. Jerome comments: "It is written, to everyone who asks it will be
given; so, if it is not given to you, it is not given to you because
you do not ask; so, ask and you will receive" ("Comm. in Matth.", 7).
However, even though prayer in itself is infallible, sometimes we do
not obtain what we ask for.  St. Augustine says that our prayer is not
heard because we ask "aut mali, aut male, aut mala."  "Mali" (= evil
people): because we are evil, because our personal dispositions are not
good; "male" (= badly): because we pray badly, without faith, not
persevering, not humbly; "mala" (= bad things): because we ask for bad
things, that is, things which are not good for us, things which can
harm us (cf. "De Civitate Dei, XX", 22 and 27; "De Serm. Dom. In
Monte", II, 27, 73).  In the last analysis, prayer is ineffective when
it is not true prayer.  Therefore, "Pray.  In what human venture could
you have greater guarantee of success?" ([Blessed] J. Escriva, "The
Way", 96).

12. This "golden rule" gives us a guideline to realize our obligations
towards and the love we should have for others.  However, if we
interpreted it superficially it would become a selfish rule; it
obviously does not mean "do utdes" ("I give you something so that you
will give me something") but that we should do good to others
unconditionally: we are clever enough not to put limits on how much we
love ourselves.  This rule of conduct will be completed by Jesus' "new
commandment" (John 13:34), where He teaches us to love others as He
Himself has loved us.

Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries".  Biblical text
taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate.  Commentary
made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of
Navarre, Spain.  Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock,
Co. Dublin, Ireland.  Printed in Hungary.
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