Daily Reflection
March 4th, 2004
Joan Blandin Howard
University College
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“How much more will your heavenly Father will give…”

On February 19 in the gospel of Mark, we heard Jesus ask of Peter, “Who do you say I am?” 

In today’s gospel of Matthew Jesus says, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you  will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”  Jesus follows this with a guarantee, “For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”

I think there is a direct relationship between these two readings.  What I ask has a great deal to do with who I ask – in other words it depends upon our relationship.  It depends upon what I believe and trust the other can deliver.

A child, for example, may ask and receive in complete confidence and trust food, shelter, clothing and comfort. However, many learn early on that to ask, is not to receive – but to be denied and abandoned. Many know to ask only for certain things from certain people, again depending upon the established relationship. Many of us have given up asking all together.

What I dare to ask of God depends upon who/what I experience God to be.  Is God the healing force who I turn to in times of illness, begging for physical relief for me or someone I love?  Is God the source of joy I turn to in gratitude when I am feeling so richly blessed?  Is God the pillar of strength in times of struggle, pain and vulnerability?  Is God the career counselor in times of unemployment?  Is it my experience that God says “no” as often as “yes” – or more so?  Is God the puppeteer who can make things happen, if God wants?

“Who do you say I am?” asks Jesus.  There is a note of longing and maybe a hint of incredulity.  You have no idea who I am or maybe, How can you not know who I am! 

In the scriptures we read that Jesus most certainly did cure many  - deaf to hear, lame to walk, blind to see. Jesus most certainly did feed the hungry and brought comfort to many.  But most assuredly, Jesus did not cure all the ill, nor did Jesus feed all the hungry, nor did Jesus alter the social, psychological, or physical situations of all in need.  What Jesus did do was invite all to “come to me.”  He offered himself as a source of companionship, solace to those in need.  He offered himself as a model to those who would follow him. He offered himself as faithful companion for the journey.

The mystery of God is just that – a mystery. The irony in the person of Jesus is that in calling and encouraging me to ask, seek, & knock, God also asks, seeks and knocks on my heart.

During this joyful season of Lent, I might want to encourage God to ask, seek and knock on my heart as a way of getting to know, of deepening my relationship with God. What are God’s desires for me? What will be the special graces and gifts of the season?  What sort of relationship does God have in mind for us?  A God who calls me “Beloved” can only have goodness in store for me! 

May this time of Lent be an eye and heart opening experience.

Who do I say You are?
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