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Liturgical day: Thursday I of Lent

1st Reading (Esth 14:1.3—5:12-14): Queen Esther, seized with mortal anguish, had recourse to the Lord. She lay prostrate upon the ground, together with her handmaids, from morning until evening, and said: «God of Abraham, God of Isaac, and God of Jacob, blessed are you. Help me, who am alone and have no help but you, for I am taking my life in my hand. As a child I used to hear from the books of my forefathers that you, o Lord, always free those who are pleasing to you. Now help me, who am alone and have no one but you, o Lord, my God. And now, come to help me, an orphan. Put in my mouth persuasive words in the presence of the lion and turn his heart to hatred for our enemy, so that he and those who are in league with him may perish. Save us from the hand of our enemies; turn our mourning into gladness and our sorrows into wholeness».
Responsorial Psalm: 137
R/. Lord, on the day I called for help, you answered me.
I will give thanks to you, o Lord, with all my heart, for you have heard the words of my mouth; in the presence of the angels I will sing your praise; I will worship at your holy temple and give thanks to your name.

Because of your kindness and your truth; for you have made great above all things your name and your promise. When I called, you answered me; you built up strength within me.

Your right hand saves me. The Lord will complete what he has done for me; your kindness, o Lord, endures forever; forsake not the work of your hands.
Verscicle before the Gospel (Ps 50:12a.14a): A clean heart create for me, o God; give me back the joy of your salvation.

Gospel text (Mt 7,7-12): Jesus said to his disciples, «Ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened. For everyone who asks, receives; whoever seeks, finds; and the door will be opened to him who knocks. Would any of you give a stone to your son when he asks for bread? Or give him a snake, when he asks for a fish? As bad as you are, you know how to give good things to your children. How much more, then, will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him! So, do to others whatever you would that others do to you: there you have the Law and the Prophets».

«For everyone who asks, receives; whoever seeks, finds»

Fr. Joaquim MESEGUER García
(Rubí, Barcelona, Spain)

Today, Jesus reminds us of the need and power of prayer. We cannot understand our Christian life without being related to God, and in this relation, prayer takes a central place. While we live in this world, we Christians find ourselves on a pilgrimage road, but our prayer gets us closer to God, opens up the door of his immense love and brings forward the Heaven delights. This is why, our Christian life is a constant request and search: «Ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened» (Mt 7:7), says Jesus to his disciples.

At the same time, the prayer gradually turns a stone heart into a flesh heart: «As bad as you are, you know how to give good things to your children. How much more, then, will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him!» (Mt 7:11). The best summary we can ask God can be found in Our Lord's Prayer: «Your kingdom come and your will be done, on earth as in heaven» (cf. Mt 6:10). We, therefore, cannot ask just anything in our prayers, but something which is really for our own good. If nobody wants to hurt himself, we should not want any damage for others, either.

We, sometimes, fail to see God's concern for us, for we find our prayers seemingly unanswered or may even feel God does not love us. In such moments, it will do us good to remember this advice from Saint Jerome: «It is certain God gives to he, who asks, that he, who seeks, finds, and that he, who knocks, will be opened: It is clearly seen that he, who has not received, who has not found, who has not been opened, is just because he did not know how to ask, how to seek nor how to knock at the door». Let us, therefore, ask God, in the first place, to give us a loving heart just like that of Jesus Christ.