Wow, I made it to the end! I’m so excited. I may have missed a day, but I’m still finishing the marathon. Today, Sunday, I’m doing a short reflection on the Gospel for today.
Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples.” He said to them, “When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread and forgive us our sins for we ourselves forgive everyone in debt to us, and do not subject us to the final test.”
And he said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend to whom he goes at midnight and says, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, for a friend of mine has arrived at my house from a journey and I have nothing to offer him,’ and he says in reply from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door has already been locked and my children and I are already in bed. I cannot get up to give you anything.’ I tell you, if he does not get up to give the visitor the loaves because of their friendship, he will get up to give him whatever he needs because of his persistence.
“And I tell you, ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. What father among you would hand his son a snake when he asks for a fish? Or hand him a scorpion when he asks for an egg? If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?”
As a mother of two, I have become painfully aware of my lack of patience. My lack of patience tempts me to act in ways that I truly do not wish to condone. Sometimes those tempts end up being brought into action and I find myself lying awake at night thinking, ‘How did that happen? Why could I not choose another response?’ And I realise again my dire need for forgiveness, from my God, from my child, and also from myself.
The line, “What father [mother] among you would hand his son a snake when he asks for a fish? Or a scorpion when he asks for an egg?” is a reminder to me. What if that child kept asking for a fish – over, and over, and over, and over, and over again? What if they persisted and ran you down and kept asking, “Can I have a fish?” “Can I have a fish?” “Can I have a fish?” “Can I have a fish?” “Can I have a fish?””Can I have a fish?”? The choice to give the snake becomes so much more appealing. ‘I’ll teach you to ask me one more time!’ It’s a trap. Mercy granted is not usually easily given. Mercy usually comes at a cost to the giver. I am one of the two people in my children’s lives to whom they are to look at and know, I am loved. Mercy. Mercy is a painful lesson. Mercy is truly the antidote to impatience. Mercy is the prayer that Jesus taught us. Mercy is living in gratitude and being able to truly pray the Lord’s Prayer. It’s a challenge, because often mercy eludes me. Often I can see more of myself than my children’s needs. It is mercy I need to ask for from my own Father, for my own failings in being a cup overflowing with mercy. I take solace in knowing that I can be a better person tomorrow – with God’s infinite mercy.