We take Sacred Scripture very seriously, as we should. The Bible is the truth of God. As we encounter Scripture, at Mass, in our private reading, we need to be challenged by the words. In one of my scripture classes in seminary, the professor told us that when we find a passage that is disturbing or troubling, we need to really look hard at that message. There is a deeper truth there. Today, I believe, our Gospel reading has an excellent example of a troubling passage. Have you ever prayed for something that you didn’t receive? Have you ever asked God for help that you seemed to not receive? What could Jesus possibly mean by, “ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find (Luke 11:9).” The conflict of not receiving what we desire, especially good wholesome desires, calls us to step back and think about what is important in life.
We make plans in life. We have good, prudent, responsible goals that we work toward. But is it possible that God has a better plan? In the opening prayer for Mass this Sunday, inspired by the Holy Spirit, we ask God, “grant that we may use the good things that pass in such a way as to hold fast even now to those that ever endure.“ I hope all of us can think about blessings in our lives, good material gifts given to us by God. God gives us blessings out of love, but our opening prayer tells us that these gifts are also meant to be tools we can use to help to build the kingdom of God. In fact. God has a plan for the life of every single human being, you and me, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly (John 10:10).”
At the Last Supper Jesus gives us the key to understanding His words in today’s Gospel, “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you (John 15:7).” This is the end of the passage where Christ tells us He is the vine, we are the branches, we can do nothing apart from Him. Our Gospel passage today compels us to rethink what we ask from God. In our day to day lives, in our plans for the future, do we prayerfully ask God, “what is the plan?” In the teaching of the Church, we have a sure norm for authentic human life. Church teaching is the broad framework for right living, but we need to encounter Christ daily to personalize the specific plan He has for us. We need to pray every day for God’s help and guidance. We need to remember that the Mass is a cornerstone of our lives. We need to always remember, the reason Mass is so critical to our lives is that, at Mass, by the words of Jesus Christ, bread and wine truly become His Body and Blood. At Mass, we come into the presence of God.
We all have dreams and goals, but we need to remember that God has a plan for the life of each one of us. To discern that plan, on a day by day basis, is the primary task of our lives. It’s not easy, but this is real fulfillment, authentic life. Ultimately eternal life with God.