Wednesday of the Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time
(Deuteronomy 34:1-12; 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. They point out that most people do not mind being asked. Sure, some will refuse the request, but more people than petitioners imagine are willing to make a contribution to a cause they believe in.
In the gospel Jesus tells his disciples not to be shy about asking favors from the Father. He assures them that God is ready to grant their requests. This assurance comes after the statement on fraternal correction probably because Jesus wants his disciples to give priority to community needs, especially the necessity of unity in truth and love.
Of course, sometimes we are not granted what we request. “What went wrong?” we may then ask ourselves. Did we not pray hard enough? Perhaps, we wonder, we did not really believe that God could grant our petition? Rather than speculate on our diligence or question God’s omnipotence, we might remember how Jesus prayed in Gethsemane, “...let this cup pass from me” without receiving a positive response. It is important as well to remember the second part of Jesus’ prayer, “...yet not as I will, but as you will.” Disposing ourselves to the divine will does not undercut our requests. Rather, it recognizes that God knows best and will take care of us whatever hardship we have to face.