Saturday, 32nd Week in Ordinary Time         

            Jesus, in today’s gospel reading, emphasizes the necessity of praying always without becoming weary.

            In our daily, persistent relationship to God in prayer, worship, and service, we gradually learn that the goodness of our Lord is our strength in good times and in bad. God is our friend at all times. That is, when the winds of fortune are at our backs and when they are in our faces… when the circumstances of life work for us and when they work against us… when there is joy and when there is sadness… At all times, God shares his goodness and love with us!

            Someone said to his pastor, I felt the need of God. I prayed for something to happen, and it didn’t. Prayer failed.” “No, Sir,” the pastor said, “I think that you did not want God… You wanted God to do something, and that’s different.” “You have missed the purpose of prayer: to be in harmony with God… to have a sense of God’s presence… to feel the assurance that God is in, around, and greater than any circumstance… that, come what may, we belong to him, and underneath are his loving arms.”

            Prayer is not magic. We cannot expect to receive whatever we want from God just because we ask. There are many people who feel that they can change God’s mind by their prayers. They think they can twist God’s arm and get what they want. They hassle and haggle and bargain with the Lord. “Lord, do this for me… I promise to say more prayers… I will be more kind… I will be more generous…” “Lord, I will do what you want if you will do what I ask.”

            More often than not, when we pray we think we are in business with God. Being very human we bargain only when we are in need. Once the need is satisfied, God is somehow put on hold – at least until the next time. We are to be people of prayer not only when we are in need, but at all times.

            The Lord Jesus reminds us that God’s goodness is better than a bargain. And he encourages us to persist in our relationship to God until we experience God’s goodness. Yes, the Lord Jesus invites us to come to God to form a friendship rather than to make a deal. In the long run, a friend is better than a deal.

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