Mal 3:13-20; Ps 1:1-4; Lk 11:5-13
Not everyone is blessed, but the LORD watches over the way of the just. Many follow the counsel of the wicked, walk in the way of sinners, and sit among the company of the insolent. These are not blessed. There are some who delight in the law of the LORD, and meditate on his law day and night. They are truly blessed. They are like trees planted near running streams; they yield fruit in due season; their leaves never fade. However, the wicked are only chaff, and even the gentlest breeze drives them away. Indeed the LORD watches over the way of the just, but the way of the wicked leads to doom. This kind of division among the children of Adam and Eve is known all too well. Some people are rooted and healthy like trees; other people are scattered and blown about by every breeze of public opinion or personal mood. The LORD comes like a blazing fire to both kinds of people, but the wicked are destroyed in the flame and the radiant light heals the blessed. The Lord Jesus teaches that the blessed are those who ask for every good gift and receive the Holy Spirit. The Word of the LORD in this mass still divides between those who fear the LORD and those who fear the LORD’s fire.
Even in our own time there are people who call good, evil and evil, good. They call abortion an economic necessity. They call pornography freedom of expression. They call promiscuity making love. Just like in the time of the prophet Malachi there are those who do not accept the tradition of natural law nor the tradition of the Sacred Scripture. Still there are those who defy the LORD in word and in work. They complain, “It is vain to serve God, and what do we profit by keeping his command, and going about in penitential dress in awe of the LORD of hosts?” They also conclude that calling the proud blessed and excusing the basic human instinct to do evil is somehow wise and holy. Such men, in every generation, tempt God with impunity. To such as these the LORD sends Malachi and all his prophets. These fiery preachers purify the community and the individual heart by words of great comfort, “I will have compassion on them as a man has compassion on his son who serves him.” Faithfulness is ultimately rewarded. The distinction between the just and the wicked is made manifest. For the day of the LORD is coming; it blazes like an oven, and all the proud will be stubble. For the day of the LORD is coming; it arises like the sun of justice, and all the blessed will be healed, forever.
The Lord Jesus makes a comparison not unlike the comparison of the prophet Malachi. The Lord Jesus compares us, wicked though we are, yet wise enough to give good things to our children, with the Father in heaven who always gives the Holy Spirit to those who ask him for what is good. We will get up and out of slumber even if all is settled and still in our homes to help provide hospitality for a surprise guest. We will answer our neighbor in need, if not out of friendship, at least we will help because of his persistence. It is the fear of losing face that motivates more often than does friendship. We’ll help the inconvenient neighbor more because we fear that the next morning he would ruin our reputation in town when the other neighbors judge us uncaring, inhospitable, and lacking charity. No one wants that kind of reputation, so we would inconvenience ourselves to maintain our good name in the community. The Lord Jesus teaches us that the Father Almighty will always respond with gracious hospitality. Whenever we ask, we receive. Whenever we knock, we enter. Whenever we seek, we find. We do not have to worry about God’s motivation; He is already ridiculed and condemned for so much evil in our world. We only have to believe that whatever we ask for, the gift of the Holy Spirit is what we most need and truly desire in the depths of our hearts. Such is the prayer of faith that gathers us here at this Liturgy.