Today’s first reading comes from the Book of Esther, a Scripture which does not occur often in the liturgical readings. This particular reading focuses our attention on the prayer of a young woman who is praying for God’s intercession in the life of her people as well as her own life. She is exemplary in her prayer, humble and specific. She asks God to intervene so that she and her people will be able to continue in their covenantal relationship with God which is being threatened by an enemy of her father’s. She asked for things “of God” so that she might stand up to those “not of God.”
In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells us that God will always hear and answer our prayers. The answers to our prayer may not look like what we think they ought to look like. After all, our loved ones still become ill and die, natural disasters strike, and war and famine cause suffering around the world. However, even though we may not see or understand God’s answer, we believe and have faith that God will bless us and our loved ones with goodness. As Thomas a’ Kempis and C.S. Lewis both said: “Prayer doesn’t change God or God’s will; it changes us.”
The Eucharist which we are about to celebrate is a visible answer to our prayers. We will receive our daily bread, the real presence of Jesus and the promise of the Holy Spirit who remains with us and helps us to pray. The humility of Esther moves us to make our petitions with humility and to accept God’s will, whatever it might be.
Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M., Administrator