Homilette for Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Wednesday of the Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time

(Matthew 18:15-20)

Development has been a growth industry for thirty years. Of course, the development that I have in mind has nothing to do with land or cameras but with growing funds for a church or charitable organization. Development advisors make a mantra of the conventional wisdom that in order to receive you have to ask. Often churches and charities are reluctant to beg from individuals because they fear putting them on the spot. But, developers point out, most people want to be asked. Sure some will refuse a direct request, but more people than petitioners imagine are willing to make a contribution to a cause they can believe in.

In the gospel Jesus tells his disciples not to be shy about asking favors. He assures them that he is there to grant their requests. This assurance is juxtaposed to fraternal correction probably because he wants his disciples to give priority to community needs, especially the necessity of unity in truth and love.

Of course, sometimes the Lord does not grant what we request. “What went wrong?” we may then ask ourselves. Did we not pray hard enough? Perhaps we did not believe that God could grant our petition? Rather than accuse ourselves of ill will, we might remember how Jesus prayed and try to do likewise. In Gethsemane when he contemplated the terrible punishment that was about to befall him, he prayed, “...let this cup pass from me; yet not as I will, but as you will.” Disposing ourselves to the divine will does not undercut our request. Rather, it recognizes that God knows best and will take care of us no matter what we have to face.