Luke and Matthew have gathered in their respective Gospels some of Jesus’ words that without doubt remain deeply engraved in the minds of his closest followers. They easily could have been words that were used while Jesus moved about with his disciples through the Galilean villages, asking for something to eat, seeking friendly faces, or knocking at a neighbor’s door.
They probably didn’t always receive the answer they wanted, but Jesus doesn’t give up. His trust in the Father is absolute. His followers should learn to trust as he does: «So I say to you: Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you». Jesus knows what he’s saying since such is his experience: «everyone who asks, receives; everyone who seeks, finds; everyone who knocks will have the door opened».
If there’s something that we need to relearn about Jesus in these times of crisis and confusion in his Church, is trust. Not as a naïve attitude of someone sitting around waiting for better times. Even less so a passive and irresponsible posture, but rather a more evangelical and prophetic behavior of following Jesus the Christ right here and right now. In fact, though his three invitations point toward the same basic attitude of trust in God, his language suggests diverse nuances.
«Ask» is the proper attitude of the poor who need to receive from another what they can’t get by their own effort. Thus did Jesus imagine his followers: as men and women who are poor, conscious of their frailty and extreme poverty, without any indication of pride or self-sufficiency. It’s not a disgrace to live in a Church that is poor, weak and deprived of power. What’s deplorable is to try to follow Jesus today by asking of the world a kind of protection that can come to us only from the Father.
«Seek» isn’t just asking. It’s more: get going, step out to reach something that is hidden from us because it’s covered or concealed. Thus Jesus sees his followers: as «seekers of God’s Reign and God’s justice». It’s normal to live today in a Church that is confused in the face of an uncertain future. What’s strange is that we don’t mobilize ourselves to seek together new paths to sow the Gospel in our modern culture.
«Knock» is to make a loud noise for someone to whom we don’t feel close to, but we believe can listen to and attend to us. Thus Jesus shouts out to his Father in the loneliness of the cross. It’s understandable that today we find blocked the faith of not a few Christians who learned to talk about, celebrate and live faith in a pre-modern culture. What’s sad is that we don’t push ourselves more to learn to follow Jesus today, shouting out to God from the contradictions, conflicts and questions of the world we live in.
José Antonio Pagola
Translator: Fr. Jay VonHandorf