Word of the day

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Thursday of the First Week in Lent

Reading of the day

A reading from the Book of Esther
Est C:12, 14-16, 23-25

Queen Esther, seized with mortal anguish,
had recourse to the LORD.
She lay prostrate upon the ground, together with her handmaids,
from morning until evening, and said:
"God of Abraham, God of Isaac, and God of Jacob, blessed are you.
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 from the books of my forefathers
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.

"And now, come to help me, an orphan.
Put in my mouth persuasive words in the presence of the lion
and turn his heart to hatred for our enemy,
so that he and those who are in league with him may perish.
Save us from the hand of our enemies;
turn our mourning into gladness
and our sorrows into wholeness."

Gospel of the day

From the Gospel according to Matthew
Mt 7:7-12

Jesus said to his disciples:
"Ask and it will be given to you;
seek and you will find;
knock and the door will be opened to you.
For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds;
and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
Which one of you would hand his son a stone
when he asked for a loaf of bread,
or a snake when he asked for a fish?
If you then, who are wicked,
know how to give good gifts to your children,
how much more will your heavenly Father give good things
to those who ask him.

"Do to others whatever you would have them do to you.
This is the law and the prophets."

Words of the Holy Father

With these words Jesus makes it understood that God always responds, that no prayer will remain unheard; why? Because He is Father, and does not forget his suffering children. Of course, these affirmations disconcert us, because many of our prayers seem not to obtain any results. How often have we asked and not received — we have all experienced this — how many times have we knocked and found a closed door? Jesus advises us, in those moments, to persist and to not give up. Prayer always transforms reality, always. If things around us do not change, at least we change; our heart changes. Jesus promised the gift of the Holy Spirit to each man and to each woman who prays. We can be certain that God will respond. The only uncertainty is due to time, but let us not doubt that he will respond. Perhaps we will have to persist for our whole life, but he will respond. He promised us this. (General audience, 9 January 2019)