Ask and You Shall Receive
Wednesday of the Eighteenth week in Ordinary Time

Matthew 15:21-28. O woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.

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Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 15:21-28.
Then Jesus went from that place and withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. And behold, a Canaanite woman of that district came and called out, "Have pity on me, Lord, Son of David! My daughter is tormented by a demon." But he did not say a word in answer to her. His disciples came and asked him, "Send her away, for she keeps calling out after us." He said in reply, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." But the woman came and did him homage, saying, "Lord, help me." He said in reply, "It is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs." She said, "Please, Lord, for even the dogs eat the scraps that fall from the table of their masters." Then Jesus said to her in reply, "O woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish." And her daughter was healed from that hour.

Matthew 15:21-28.

Introductory Prayer:
I believe in you, my God. You called me into existence from nothingness and carefully watch over me. You have even numbered the hairs of my head. I trust in your infinite goodness, and I abandon into your loving hands my fears, my hopes, my needs, my desires, everythingand my all into your loving hands. I love you, Lord, and I wish to love you with all my mind, heart, soul and strength. Lord, so many things keep me from communicating with you: fear, tiredness, discouragement, human respect, sentimentalism, hurt. Lord, help me. I am one of your lost sheep. I value your presence and attention to me. Through baptism, I am one of your children. I really do believe that you are willing to leave the ninety-nine sheep in search of me.

Lord, grant that these moments of conversation will build my trust in you.

1. Bold Prayer:
We are often timid and bashful in asking others for what we need when we assume that we will be “putting someone them out” with our request. We put ourselves in their place and think, “I don’t want to be a bother to them.” But Christ wants us to be bold in prayer. What does it “cost” God to grant us his grace? More than what he has already freely given us — his Son? To think that we are “bothering” God when we ask him for things is to pray to a distant and unfamiliar God. Did not Christ guarantee us that if we asked the Father (“Abba”, “Daddy”) for anything in his name, it would be granted? The Canaanite woman’s loud pleas were not bothering Christ in the least. How different Christ’s reactions are to ours, which are so often like those of his disciples!

2. Prayer Unanswered?
It is difficult to humble ourselves and admit that we need help, that we can’t completely take care of ourselves. Our pride and human respect often keeps us from asking for what we need. The Canaanite woman didn’t seem to mind. She presented herself before Christ and others as a beggar. Now, the Gospel text records: , “But he did not answer her at all.” It seems that Christ heard her, but simply did not answer her -- at least not immediately. One might think Christ respondede to responded to gave her act of humility with a rather cold or, even degrading reception. Was Christ being insensitive? Of course not!. He knew how strong this woman’s faith was, and he put it to the test precisely so that others throughout the centuries could marvel at her simple faith. There are often many hidden reasons why Christ doesn’t readily answer our prayers. Let us return to Christ humbly, with faith and hope, when we feel slighted or ignored by him.

3. Efficacious Prayer:
An efficacious prayer is a humble prayer. We are super-sensitive when we are hurt. This Canaanite woman was already very hurt by the condition of her daughter and the scolding of the disciples. If Had she hadn’t not had such simple faith and hope, Christ’s words to her could have been enough to send her “over the top.” When we are hurt, we can easily jump to conclusions and become offended. Once our pride is injured, we are often blinded to the good someone wishes us or performs for us. How many souls have spent long years uselessly away from Christ because they have clung to past hurts and been blinded to God’s often mysterious pedagogy?

Conversation with Christ:
Dear Jesus, too often I have given up on prayer without really trying, convinced that you don’t listen to me. I am sorry for judging you. Help me persevere in asking you for the good things I need. Help me overcome any shame or human respect, so that I can increase my faith, hope and love for you. I promise to be more open to your plan for me and never doubt your goodness to me.

I will meditate on an “unanswered” prayer in my life, trying to understand how Christ could have answered it in an unexpected, yet superior way.


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