Christmas Tide (12th January, 2019)
First Reading: 1 Jn 5:14-21
Gospel: Jn 3:22-30
Today’s first reading give us a great solace and encouraging message for us that God will hear whatever we ask for. That is what the first reading from the first book of John assures us saying, “And this is the boldness we have in him, that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us” (1 Jn 5:14). Every man has the earnest desire to pray. He does so with the confidence and trust that his prayers will be heard. All pilgrimages and works of penance and fasting are mainly undertaken so that our prayers may be heard. St. Paul too encourages us to pray for our needs. He says, “do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your request be made known to God” (Phil 4:6). The question is what sort of prayer are granted? We find in the Gospel of Luke that prayer of repentant heart is sure to be heard. Thus, we see in Lk 18:13-14 which says that when we call upon the Lord in humble repentance, He is eager to justify and forgive us.
There are certain instances when our payers may be herd. The first instance is when we should have the spirit of repentance and change of heart or else God will not hear our prayers. The book of proverb says, “When one will not listen to the low, even one’s prayers are an abomination” (Prov 28:9). Secondly the prayers should not be such as based on our own selfish desires or else they may not be heeded too. St. James says about it in his letter. He says, “You ask and do not receive because you ask wrongly, in order to spend what you get on your pleasures” (Jam 4:3). God is not there to fulfil our earthly petty desires solely to satisfy some personal needs like passing exams, purchase of goods etc. So, our prayers should be I accordance with His will for us. Those contrary to His will go unheard. This is what we heard in today’s first reading where St. John says, “And this is the boldness we have in him, that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us” (1 Jn 5:14).
Our life may bear several incidents so prove this. We may think or plan for one thing but God might give us something else in accordance with His will for us. The fourth ingredient for an effective prayer is that we need to seek His favour in faith. St. Mark says in his gospel, “So I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours” (Mk 11:24). It was with faith that the centurion asks for cure of his servant (Lk 7:12-10). It was with faith that syrophenecian woman asked for cure of her daughter (Mt 15:21-28). Similar happens in the case of Canaanite woman too (Mt 15:21-28). And the list goes on. So, we are to have faith that He hears us and will grant every request that is in tune with His will for us. We need to remain united with him to have our prayers heard. So, does Jesus say, “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish and it will be done for you” (Jn 15:7). So let us continue to pray to Him incessantly with faith and trust being ever united to Him and walking in His path according to His will. Amen.