Reflection on the Daily Readings for 3/05/09 by Fr. Bertrand Buby, SM

Today’s Readings

Scripture: Thurs. of First week in Lent...Esther (C) 12:14-16,23-25. Psalm
138:1-2.2-3.7-8. Matthew 7:7-12. Lectionary # 228:

"Knock and it will be opened to you." Jesus, in the Sermon on the
Mount, continues to help us make our journey through Lent. Today the theme
is prayer and more precisely the prayer of petition. This is used at most
liturgical celebrations in the intercessions where both at the Eucharist
and at the Liturgy of the Hours we make known our petitions to the Lord
with appropriate intentions and responses. We are knocking on the door
hoping that Jesus will open to us and we know for sure he will.

All three readings which include the Psalm response and its chosen
verses are centered on prayer. They are given a focus by Jesus' telling us
that such prayer of petition will be heard, and we know, this requires a
deep faith of the heart on our part. We learn that Esther prays for the
deliverance and safety of her people Israel before a mighty king. The king
is not the problem but a culprit who hates her people. His name is Haman.
She is beseeching the Lord to give her strength to approach the king and
ask him to rid her of the enemy as well as to protect all her people. Her
life is endangered in approaching the king but with the prayers she has
made and her fasting she courageously does present herself to the king and
is heard. The narrative ends in a success for the Israelites and Esther
becomes Queen.

Petitions are an easy form of prayer and we have prayed in this mode
since childhood. Since the liturgical intercessions are well crafted we
need to personally add our own sometimes in the silence of our hearts or in
the parish or community where such individual petitions are encouraged.
Most university chaplains encourage this and it is practiced every day in
religious congregations where the brothers, sisters, and priests gather to
worship God.

We know that Jesus also tells us that "For wherever two or three are
gathered in my name, I am there in the midst of them." (Matthew 18:20).
Matthew is the only Gospel that uses the word Church on two occasions and
thus he shows us the necessity of intercessory prayer within the context of
a congregation, or in a church, or a community of the faithful.

Jesus has asked us to knock on the door of his heart. Then in the
last book of the Bible, the Book of Revelation we learn that Jesus returns
the favor by knocking on the door of our heart. He says in the last part
of his addressing the seven churches of the Apocalypse: "Behold, I stand at
the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will
come in to him and dine with him and he with me." Rev.3:20). Let us keep
knocking and opening doors for Jesus and for one another. Amen.