Ask, Seek and Knock

Matthew 7: 7-12
Est C:12,14-16,23-25 / Ps 138

Do to others whatever you would have them do to you. This is the Law and the Prophets.
(Matthew 7:12)

Whatever we seek in prayer,
We are confident we shall find;
Jesus said, trust God our Father,
What we give we’ll receive in kind.

“Ask and it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it shall be opened. Which one of you would hand his son a stone when he asks for a loaf of bread, or a snake if he asks for a fish? If you then, being wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give what is good to those who ask Him! Do to others whatever you would have them do to you. This is the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 7:7-12)

Reflection

“Ask and it shall be given to you…” Please do not take these words too literally. What our Lord Jesus is saying may be that, if we are kind and generous to others as we are to our own children, then we can expect God to give us what we are asking for. God always hears and answers the prayers of those who reflect His kindness and practice the Golden Rule. Or He will give something even better. St. John enunciated this when he wrote that “We receive from God whatever we ask, because we keep His commandments and do what pleases Him” (1 Jn. 3:22). However, there may be times when God does not grant our supplication. St. James tells us why: “You ask and do not receive, because you ask with the wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.” (James 4:3) Compared to the wisdom of God, we are mere babes crying out for something that may not even be good for us. When we ask God for something, we must be patient and at the same time persistent in our prayers. But we must also be mature enough to accept God’s wisdom and will for us, because what we are asking for may not always be in conformity with His plans.

“Seek and you shall find…” There are many who have been searching for meaning in their lives, and never find it. Why? Because they have been doing it on their own power, and never sought the guidance of the Holy Spirit, or even the direction that our Lord Jesus has laid out in the Gospel. Many Christians are just “going through the motions,” but never seem to find their faith, because they are only looking for signs and wonders, external revelations that give temporary spiritual nourishment. What we seek lies within. It is in our heart, and the reason we fail to find it is because we refuse to face up to our faults, our weaknesses and dishonesties. We will find the things that are most important in this life — joy, love and peace, and the hope of eternal life — when we finally realize the futility of temporal pursuits, and surrender our life to Jesus, accepting Him and Him alone as our life and Savior. We will only find Him when we lose our desire for pelf, pleasure, power and prestige that distract us from the real treasure that we must seek, which only Jesus can give.

Finally, the door will be opened to us if we cry out to God for His forgiveness. But first, we must open the door of our heart to others who may have offended us, even if they have not found the courage to knock. It is Jesus Who is knocking on our door for them. He had already died for the remission of all sins. So if He has already forgiven all sins by dying on the cross, who are we to withhold it?

Lord, You always know what is best for us. Remind us to seek first Your kingdom and Your righteousness, as Jesus taught us, with the assurance that all other things will be given to us as well” (Mt. 6:33). Amen.

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