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Lectionary 228: Prayer during Lent

February 24, 2015

228.docx

Lectionary 228. Scripture: Feb. 26. Ester C:12:14-16, 23-25.  Psalm 138:1-2,2-3, 7-8. Matthew 7:7-12:

Most biblical scholars would agree that the Sermon on the Mount is one of the most powerful sermons ever given.  The Sermon is found in the fifth, sixth, and seventh chapter of Matthew and contains what we need on our journey through Lent: the Beatitudes, the Lord’s Prayer, and teachings about fasting, and almsgiving or generosity.  We have a Lenten resource in this Sermon and it is worthwhile to return to it several times during this season.  Many of the Lenten Gospel readings are taken from it and will be helpful as we continue our Lenten following of Jesus in today’s world.  We have each day  opportunities to live out  this magna carta and blueprint of the following of Christ’s words and deeds.

In our passage today, Matthew 7:7-12 we return to the theme of prayer that we had a few days ago.  Jesus urges us to persevere in prayer and gives us some key words to deepen our confidence in our prayers.  Here are the words taken from our passage:  Knock, Seek, Ask, Find, Receive, and Enter (the kingdom of God).  I meditated upon these words in the following summary:

Knock recalled to mind this great image taken from the Book of Revelation and said by the Resurrected Christ “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, [then]I will enter his house and dine with him, and he with me.  I will give the victor the right to sit with me on my throne, as I myself first won the victory and sit with my Father on his throne.  Whoever has ears ought to hear what the Spirit says to the churches… (Revelation 3: 20-22).

Seek:  As I thought of this word of Jesus, I was led back to the Psalms which frequently pray for seeing and seeking the face of God. This is a great way of praying and calling to mind the presence of God.  Just randomly looking at the Psalms I found 22 psalms that pray seeking the Lord.  Even one of our regular songs at Mass sings out, “Seek the Lord while he may be found…”

Ask:  We have no trouble using this word within our petitionary prayers. We are encouraged to ask that our real needs may be fulfilled and that our desire for uniting ourselves with Christ Jesus be maintained if we want to be answered.  We pray for others and this allows Jesus to come to us unhindered by what we think our needs and desires are.  Our Intercessions at the Eucharist are best for this asking type of prayer.

Find:  I recalled Jesus telling us to search that we may find a treasure or a pearl of great price.  Through the Eucharist we have the presence of Jesus in the sacrament as well as the daily presence of Jesus within us and our normal work and ministry.

We realize that the Our Father (The Lord’s Prayer) is what Jesus teaches us as disciples.  Starting the day by praying this God-given prayer we will surely be making the day that unravels hour after hour into a dedicated day for God. Lastly, we hear Jesus telling us, “If you, with all your sins, know how to give your children what is good, how much more will your heavenly Father give  good things to anyone who asks him!”  Amen. ( Matthew 7: 11).

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