October 6, 2011 - Thursday of the Twenty-Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

Today's Readings

In the story Jesus tells, we are not the man knocking at the door. That is Jesus. We are the man in bed. Jesus is not telling us that God will only answer our prayer if we bother him enough. He is telling us that we will only answer God’s call if he bothers us enough. If we do not give God what he wants out of love for him, we will eventually give him whatever he wants because of his persistence. What God wants from us is us. He intends to save us despite our laziness. He needs us to get up and give him our memory, our understanding, our entire will.

How interesting that in our first reading today, the reward of the just and the punishment of sinners is the same! About the wicked, the Lord says, “the day that is coming will set them on fire, leaving them neither root nor branch.” “But for you who fear my name,” he adds, “there will arise the sun of justice with its healing rays. The sun is a giant ball of fire. So fire comes for the good and fire comes for the wicked, but it destroys the wicked while healing the good.

What is this fire other than the Holy Spirit, God himself? Jesus promises that the Father will send the Holy Spirit to anyone who asks. Have you asked for the Holy Spirit lately? We might ask God for money or some object or help with some task, and we might receive what we ask for, but whether we do or not, we are guaranteed to receive something better than anything else: the Holy Spirit. God in his wisdom may refuse other requests, but he will never refuse to send his Holy Spirit.

So the question for us is whether we want the Holy Spirit to come into our life. If we have given ourselves over to God, we can receive the Holy Spirit as healing rays of the sun. If we have held back anything, it will be burned by the Holy Spirit, root and branch. If our confidence is in ourselves, we will be destroyed when the Holy Spirit comes. If we fear the Lord, will we have nothing to fear. If we are bad, our punishment is the Holy Spirit. If we are good, our reward is the Holy Spirit. Either way, it is the same Holy Spirit. The difference is in us.