Meditation: What can we expect from God, especially when
we recognize that he doesn't owe us anything and that we don't
deserve his grace and favor? Jesus used the illustration of a
late-night traveler to teach his listeners an important lesson
about how God treats us in contrast to the kind of treatment we
might expect from our neighbors.
The rule of hospitality in biblical times required the cooperation of the entire community in entertaining an unexpected or late-night guest. Whether the guest was hungry or not, a meal would be served. In a small village it would be easy to know who had baked bread that day. Bread was essential for a meal because it served as a utensil for dipping and eating from the common dishes. Asking for bread from one's neighbor was both a common occurrence and an expected favor. To refuse to give bread would bring shame and dishonor because it was a sign of in-hospitality - showing a lack of friendship and generosity.
God awakens us from sleep that we may ask and receive
If a neighbor can be imposed upon and coerced into giving bread in the middle of the night, how much more hospitable is God, who, no matter what the circumstances, is generous and ready to give us what we need. Augustine of Hippo reminds us that "God, who does not sleep and who awakens us from sleep that we may ask, gives much more graciously."
Ask, seek, knock - and it will be given
When you are in need who do you turn to for help? Jesus tells us that God is always ready to answer those who seek him and call upon him with expectant trust in his mercy and kindness. Jesus states very clearly and simply what we must do: Ask, seek, knock. God our heavenly Father waits upon us. Like a table waiter or friend who comes in the middle of the night, he is always ready to hear our plea and to give us what we need. Do you ask the Father with expectant faith and confident trust in his goodness? Do you seek his guidance and help in your time of need? Do you knock with persistence at his door of mercy and favor? If we treat our heavenly Father with indifference or neglect to ask with confident trust, we may miss the opportunity we have been given to receive his grace and favor and merciful help.
God gives more than we can ask or expect
In conclusion Jesus makes a startling claim: How much more will the heavenly Father give! The Lord is ever ready to give us not only what we need, but more than we can expect. He gives freely of his Holy Spirit that we may share in his abundant life and joy. Do you approach your heavenly Father with confident trust in his mercy and kindness?
"Heavenly Father, you are merciful, gracious and kind. May I never doubt your mercy and love nor hesitate to seek you with confident trust in order to obtain the gifts, graces, and daily provision I need to live as your beloved child and constant friend."
This reflection is courtesy of Don Schwager, whose website is located at: http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/