Memorial of St. Bruno
Jesus teaches His apostles how to pray in a shocking prayer, and the apostles likewise taught others the same prayer, who in turn taught others, and so on to us today. We can pray the Lord’s Prayer without a second thought, but to the apostles it must have been revolutionary. Today Jesus teaches us about this prayer, and the depth of trust we may have in the God we address as “Father.”
First, Jesus gives us a parable of a friend in need, encouraging us to have the faith to pray this incredible prayer, to pray as God’s own children. The parable of the two friends teaches us that even if it seems that God will not answer our prayers, we must be persistent and not only trust but know that our prayers do not fall on deaf ears. But He does not stop here; after all, this does not sound at all like a father. If, say, a child were coming to the house asking for bread, the father would likely go unlock the door right away.
This parable is a way of helping the apostles see a difference between God and the world; we tend to be motivated to extraordinary charity either because we deeply care about the other person or their need begins to become a persistent inconvenience in our own life. Jesus, on the other hand, tells us to ask, to seek, to find, to knock, and that all will be given and received. A good father does not only help his children when he likes them, or when he’s finally had enough of their pestering. No, a good father gives good things, and gives them generously because he loves his children.
We know how to give good things to our children; why would we ever think that the God whom we address as Father would not answer our prayer, or would only answer it part way? Here Jesus urges us to trust the Father, that God has no reason to withhold any good thing from us. We may ask for a fish and receive a loaf of bread, but certainly never something bad, even if it is not what we were initially asking for. Our Father will not leave us abandoned or wanting; He is not neglectful, but we do have to trust that He will fulfill our desires and needs in His way, just as any good father does.
Notice how Jesus says this: “…how much more will the Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?” The Holy Spirit, the very love of God; our Father gives not only good things, but the best thing, because we are His children. There is a question in our every prayer, a question Jesus assures that we may put to rest: Father, do you love me? Today’s Gospel tells us yes. We know we love our children; how much more perfectly does God the Father love His children? Even with our mustard seed faith we can trust Him, at least as much as a child trusts its father with its whole heart.