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(A reflection on the Gospel of John 16:23-28)

One night a week or so ago I didn’t sleep well and I woke up groggy and too late to go to 7:30 morning mass.  In fact, I barely had time to get my act together and make it to 9:00 mass at another parish.  I didn’t have time for my morning meditation and, because of the slew of errands i I had to run during the day, I knew I wouldn’t be able to fit it in until my Adoration hour that evening.  So, my resolution for the day was the standard I use in situations like this:  “Heavenly Father, grant me the grace to recognize and act on the opportunities you present to me today to be charitable to others.  I ask this in Jesus’ name.  Amen.”

My first stop after leaving mass was the grocery store.  As I pulled into the parking lot the skies opened up and it began to pour down rain.  I decided to wait it out and lay my seat back and take a little nap until it stopped raining.  I checked the clock to see what time it was and then closed my eyes.  Three minutes later, just as I was about to doze off, I heard a knocking on my window.  There, looking me in the eyes with her nose almost touching the glass, with either rain or tears running down her cheeks, was a young woman asking, “Sir, my car won’t start, would you mind giving me a jump?”

I immediately replied, “I don’t have any jumper cables” (which was the truth), to which she responded, “I do!”.  I couldn’t very well say we should wait until it stops raining since she was already soaked to the bone, so I agreed to help her.

The shopping cart corral was between her car and mine so I pulled out and maneuvered my truck close to her little sedan.  By the time I got my hood opened I was already sopping wet.  The young woman pulled her jumper cables out of her back seat and they were the shortest set of cables I’d ever seen, only about three feet long and they wouldn’t reach my battery.  I repositioned closer to her car, reopened the hood and connected the cables, which barely reached, and soon we had her car started.  As I disconnected the cables and closed the hood, she politely told me, “Thank you.”

I got back in my truck and pulled back into my parking spot.  As I watched her pull away I realized the extent of my sogginess.  I started to complain when it hit me that I had received exactly what I’d asked for, a chance to be charitable to someone else.  I looked upwards and, with a chuckle, prayed, “Lord, you didn’t waste any time, did you!”  In my imagination I could hear God, with a chuckle in His voice saying, “You asked for it so I gave it to you.  Thank you, my son”, to which I replied, “You’re welcome….and thank You!”

This memory came back to me as I read today’s scripture.  In today’s Gospel, John 16:23-28, Jesus tells us that “whatever you ask the Father in my name He will give it to you….ask and you will receive so that your joy will be complete.”  This was nearly the last thing Jesus said to His disciples before He was arrested.  It was His last request to His friends.  He had told them He was going away but He would send the Advocate to be with them in His absence.  He wanted them to know that He wasn’t leaving them alone and if they trusted in Him they would still find joy no matter what.

Jesus wants us to trust Him, too.  He wants us to know that His Spirit is with us all the time and all that we have to do is call upon Him and ask Him for what we need.  We please Him immensely when our request is for something good, something that is in line with making us like Him, something that leads us toward holiness.  

If our request is for something that is not good, we might get what we ask for or we might not.  We might get it to teach us a lesson, or we might not get it because we’ve sold ourself short and He’ll give us something even better.  The important thing is to ask Him, to include Him in our daily lives, to trust that His generosity will provide the best for us and that it will complete our joy.

How often do you ask Him for help?

“Lord Jesus, I know that I don’t ask You for Your help nearly enough.  You’ve told me that, without You, I can do nothing.  I need to take that to heart and spend more time asking You for the good things in life like:  loving my family and neighbors as they deserve to be loved, being more virtuous, and loving You more dearly by spending quality time with You in prayer.  Come, Holy Spirit!  Amen.”

(Ask and You Shall Receive was first published on the blog Reflections of a Lay Catholic)

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