Interceding in Hope
First Thursday of Lent
In today’s gospel, Jesus encourages us to pray for what we – and our family, our friends and our wider society – need. It’s easy for this reading to make us feel inadequate in our faith: how often have we prayed for something or someone, and it doesn’t appear our prayer has been answered. Does this mean our faith isn’t up to the task? For me the secret is in the second half of the reading, where Jesus tells us our Father in heaven knows all our needs and lovingly cares for us. Our view of the situation is so limited compared to our Father’s, and we are so limited in our trust in the Father’s love.
In the Lord’s Prayer, our petition for our needs – “Give us this day our daily bread” – is preceded by “Your Kingdom come, your will be done”. In praying for our needs, we trust that our prayers will be met by our all-loving Father in a way that best brings his kingdom and love into the situation.
There are people and situations for which we might pray for weeks, months or even years, seemingly to no effect. We never know the full situation that we are praying for or how God is working in it. As we intercede it helps to hand over the situation to our Blessed Mother, who makes no judgements about the people or situations. Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to you.
1st Reading: Esther 14:1, 3-5, 12-14
Gospel: Matthew 7:7-12