Today is my one day off and I am normally not given to posting…or doing much of anything beyond reading a book, taking a walk, and thinking about lunch. Such are the occupations on my days off. Did I mention a nap? Anyway…. I was struck by two Lenten reflections on the gospel for the day that came my way this morning: one from Bishop Barron and the other from Deacon Connor Penn, a seminarian and transitional deacons for the Diocese of St. Petersburg, Florida. Today’s gospel is the very familiar passage: “Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.‘” (Mt 7:1-12)
Bishop Robert Barron’s Lenten reflection for today offers this:
Friends, today’s Gospel urges us to persist in prayer. The Lord wants us to ask with persistence, even stubbornness. Now, we must not think of God as becoming exasperated by our prayer of petition, but the clear implication is that we will get what we want through persistence: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”
The reflection goes on to ponder the connection between persistence, desire, and change: “The Lord wants to stretch us, expanding our desire so as to receive the gift he desires to give us”
Deacon Connor Penn wrote:
“I feel like knocking has gone our of style. When was the last time I actually knocked on someone’s front door? Most of the time, when I get to someone’s home, I’ll call that person or send them a text message that reads “I’m here!”
But something about the very act of knocking communicates a disposition: I am waiting and have made myself available – yet I have done all that I can do. Once I’ve knocked on someone’s front door, I can do no more. I simply must wait for the response of the one inside.
Perhaps this is why Jesus used this image of knocking on a door when teaching about prayer. Many times, prayer is simply presenting ourselves before God, “knocking on the door” by voicing our need before Him, and then simply waiting for Him. This actually takes a great deal of courage: to trust that once I have “knocked” on God’s door in prayerful petition, He will listen to my knocking and answer if accordingly.”
Lord, help me to rest in the peace of knowing that by simply “knocking on your door” I have done all that You have asked of me in prayer.
What I like about the two reflections is that it offers us a spectrum of ways to look at this Word of God. On one end of the spectrum is the “Sheldon Cooper” of life knocking on Penny’s apartment door in the most persistent of fashions. On a different end of the spectrum is Leonard Hofstadter knocking on the same door and waiting. (and in case you have missed the reference, these are characters on the television series Big Bang Theory.)
Faith, persistence, prayer, humble waiting – and where ever you find yourself on the spectrum of prayer, know that God ever hears and always answers….maybe not in the way you hoped or expected, but always.
And in case you would like to see Sheldon Cooper’s persistent knocking on Penny’s door enjoy the video. A few seconds will suffice, but enjoy all two minutes if you are a fan: