Sunday, July 28, 2013

A Father's gift

Let's play Jeopardy.

The answer is the Holy Spirit.

The question is contained in today's gospel reading (Lk 11:1-13). Jesus is teaching His disciples how to pray. We are given the Our Father and the well known, oft misinterpreted phrase, "Ask and it will be given."

We too often interpret this as free license to ask God for whatever we want, no matter how selfish or ludicrous, and get mad at God for not living up to His word about giving.

We rationalize, "But you said you would give whatever I ask. You said you give better gifts than me, and I give pretty cool gifts come Christmas and birthdays."

Now for the question in today's game of Jeopardy: What should we ask for so we can receive it in abundance, without fail? The Holy Spirit.

It's worth quoting the last verse for clarity, "How much more will the Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?" There is no mention of health, prosperity, a nice car, or anything material or self-serving. God is willing to give you whatever you ask for, as long it's in accordance with His will, and that is always more Holy Spirit in our lives to enable us to love and serve as Jesus did.

As a father, I don't give my children Doritos, chocolate or ice cream for breakfast when they ask. Not just because I ate them all last night, but because I know it's not good for them. I won't say no to something healthy. I'll give it in abundance.

Likewise, God, as the loving Father, gives us things that are good for us in abundance. It's a good healthy dose of the Holy Spirit that guides us to ask for all the right things.

Come Holy Spirit.

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