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1st Week of Lent, Thursday - Mar 5th

Esther 4:10-12,17-19 / Matthew 7:7-12
Jesus talks about prayer: "Ask and it will be given to you."
Catherine Marshall recommended keeping a list of your special prayer requests— along with the date of each request. A woman did this and was surprised at the way some requests were answered. For example, one was answered by a change of attitude toward a situation, rather than by a removal of the situation. In other words, many of our prayers are answered in a way totally different from what we had in mind when we made the request. The point is that many prayers are answered, but in a way so different from what we expected that we often fail to recognize the answer.
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What kind of faith do we have in Jesus’ promise, “Ask and it will be given to you’? Our prayers are often answered not in the way we thought they should be, but in the way a loving Father saw fit. 
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It is really intriguing how we can often evade the truth and the reality. For e.g., we may have heard of cases about other people, or even of ourselves, of how we manage to side-step the reality of the situation. We may have a peculiar physical pain and yet we try to self-medicate and to numb it, only to be afflicted later with a serious illness. We may laugh at the ostrich for burying its head in the sand to avoid facing the reality and the truth. But are we not often like that? We don't want to look, hear or know.

In the 1st reading, Queen Esther could have just ignored the impending annihilation of her people and just cared about her own survival. But she knew that to do such a treacherous deed would be to deny her faith and reject any possibility of God's intervention. Also, to do that would bring about disastrous consequences for her.

In the gospel, Jesus challenges us to question and to search for the meaning of our lives, as well as to examine our lives. To have no questions about our lives and about our faith may mean that we might be like an ostrich who does not want to see the reality and the truth of our lives.

Yet God will always be asking us about our lives. He will be searching for us when we are lost. He will be knocking on the door of our hearts waiting for us to open to Him.

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LITURGY:


Introduction

Prayer discloses all the riches of God’s goodness to us. God cannot resist us when we turn to him in our misery, in our needs, in our joy, even in our silence when we don’t know what to say. But the reason for his generosity is not so much that we ask him, but that he is good. Others, even a father or a mother, may give because the person who asks insists. God gives because he is good. He is glad to give. He gives with joy. And he gives always more than is asked.

Penitential Rite:
-With Ester, we pray: Help me, who am alone and have no help but you, for I am taking my life in my hand.
-As a child I used to hear that you, O Lord, always free those who are pleasing to you. Now help me, who am alone and have no one but you, O Lord, my God.
-Trusting in Jesus’s words: "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.

Opening Prayer
Lord our God, you are a generous Father, who give us what is good for us simply because you love us. Give us grateful hearts, Lord, that we may learn from you to give and share without calculation but simply with love and joy, as Jesus did among us, your Son, who lives with you and with us for ever.

General Intercessions
–   That the Church may play wholeheartedly its role of intercession by making the needs of all people its own, we pray:
–   That the people of God may pray not only when they are in trouble and need but also to express their admiration, praise and joy, we pray:
–   That those who do not know to whom to turn in their miseries may find the Lord in people who are good to them and compassionate, we pray:

Prayer over the Gifts
Good Father in heaven, give us now the bread of life: give us your Son Jesus Christ. May he stay with us to make us generous givers who do not put price tags on our gifts. May we do what he did, not to give gifts but ourselves, that people may come to know you as the loving Father of all, now and for ever.

Prayer after Communion
God, Father of all, more loving and good than any mother, we have no one but you and your Son among us to see our needs even before we can voice them. Hear our prayer, Lord, for generosity and love, for openness to you and to everyone, that we may hear the cries of others as you hear our prayers through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Blessing
Our Lord assures us today: “Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you.” May we all be people who trust in prayer.