Thursday of the First Week of Lent
The readings for the day can be found here.
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.
For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds;
and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
Which one of you would hand his son a stone
when he asked for a loaf of bread,
or a snake when he asked for a fish?
If you then, who are wicked,
know how to give good gifts to your children,
how much more will your heavenly Father give good things
to those who ask him.
“Do to others whatever you would have them do to you.
This is the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 7: 7-12)
My husband and I have a blended family of six children and fourteen grandchildren, so this passage speaks to me. We love our family, and want only the best for each and every one of them. We provided good gifts of bread and fish, and sacrificed so that they could have options for life opportunities.
Also, I have used this Scripture all my life, sometime to wait on God for answers, other times to bargain with God for my way. I always knew God was present and cared for me.
And yet, we know that there are those who cannot identify with this Scripture. Their images of Father and Mother are horrific. Their childhood was full of pain and suffering. They were given stones, not bread; snake, not fish. They were hungry, naked, abused or neglected. They may be living in a dark place now where they cannot receive any love. How do they understand the passage, “Do to others whatever you would have them do to you,” when they have little experience of good things happening to them.
My thoughts turn to God—and I feel that God understands all this, and is always present, all around the world, knowing and feeling our pain and suffering. I look at the earlier part of the Scripture. I ponder if Jesus is beckoning us, as His Body, as the Body of Christ, to ask for the grace to be His eyes and ears to truly see and not look away and hear the pleas on the street where we are walking, not to change the channel while a commercial is telling the story of children going hungry and who are alone. We are Christ’s legs and arms for the suffering people across our world, let us seek how to help, as just one example, to take time from our couches after work and embrace a child by volunteering as a tutor.
Do we feel called to the dark places of the world, our city, even our neighborhoods? If not can we financially support those who have answered that call, and maybe write a note of appreciation for their service.
I believe that if we don’t, our safe world is only an illusion, for we are only as safe as our least safe person.