Reflection for the First Thursday of Lent

Today’s first reading jumps into the middle of an episode where Esther is the only person who can save the entire Jewish population from being destroyed by the evil actions of Haman. To enter the king’s presence without an invitation, however, is a death sentence, even for Queen Esther. Our reading today contains Esther’s prayer for protection from God in this task she must undertake, and for the gift of persuasion so that her people may be saved. Esther is successful, and her people are spared.

The psalm and today’s Gospel both tell us that this is something we can expect from God. When we beg for God’s help, he will answer us. The psalmist writes that when we give thanks to God, when we worship and praise him with all our hearts, he will not fail to save us, nor will he forsake the work of his hands.

Matthew is even more clear in today’s Gospel passage. “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” Jesus reminds us that parents give good things to their children. God, who is all good, considers every human being to be his child. If that is the case, what gift would God be unwilling to give us? Jesus uses classic Jewish logic in this passage saying, “how much more will your heavenly Father give good things to those who ask him.”

Let us remember today to praise and thank God with all our hearts, and to ask him for what we need. He will not fail to answer us.

Today’s Readings: Esther C:12, 14-16, 23-25; Ps 138:1-2ab, 2cde-3, 7c-8; Mt 7:7-12

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