He Fills the Hungry with Good Things!
Yesterday we heard Luke’s presentation of the Our Father, the prayer given to us when we meet Jesus, since it is part of the Baptismal rite. Luke’s version of the Our Father is rather matter of fact, but he follows it with an endearing parable, today’s gospel.
When we pray asking for our daily bread, forgiveness and deliverance from temptation, we can think of ourselves knocking at a door of a friend’s house at some inconvenient time. Although friendship will not make our friend hop out of bed or make the welcome all that warm, still he or she will come through. This parable connects our approach to the petitions of the Our Father in a personal way.
In two other parables Luke brings home how personal Jesus makes the Father’s response to us. There is the short parable of two debtors being forgiven. The question posed is: who will love more, the one who had the large debt or the one who had the small debt? The story brings its meaning into our lives. Despite being debtors, we personally meet the Father’s love for us in compassion and forgiveness. Also, there is the parable of the widow and the unjust judge. Her perseverance wears down the judge and she wins. Do not each of us feel the sting of injustice at times? We need to persevere in not letting ourselves be diminished by it. In that perseverance we see our true selves. In God’s image we see ourselves as love by God despite evil.
Luke tells us to knock at the door. The Lord opens to us in our need and will never send anyone away empty. ‘He has filled the hungry with good things. He has sent the rich away empty’ , not those who come knocking and are hungry(1:52). Into our empty hands the Lord will place a gift. Can we be sure that we will get something? Indeed. There are no tricks, no bad purpose. God does good like our parents, but Our Father will do good even beyond what we can count on from caring parents.
The Father will give us the Holy Spirit. This is something to look forward to as Luke’s Gospel and Acts continue. But as hearers of God’s Word we already posses this gift. So we can pray with praise, ‘Our Father in heaven, holy is your name’. May your kingdom come. Its fullness is with you now. May we who depend upon you for our daily bread, forgiveness and deliverance – gifts that bring us into personal dialogue with you – make your kingdom, this mystery of the presence of your love for us, present among all this day
Fr. William Murphy, CP is the pastor of Immaculate Conception parish in Jamaica, New York.