Lenten Gospel Reflection for Thursday, February 23rd, 2012 -- Matthew 7:7-12
Today's reading in the Gospel of Matthew finds us, at least according to some, potentially opening a Pandora's box of wishes, However, as with every other passage of verses, we must be careful to keep a contextual perspective. Prosperity Gospel preachers utilize this and other similar passages and insinuate that all you have to do is "Name it, and Claim It." According to them, health and prosperity are only a prayer away. They ignore passages preceding this one that extol the necessity of avoiding hypocrisy, maintaining an attitude of humility, and seeking God's will. What about Luke's version of the Beatitudes in 6: 20-22?
"Looking at his disciples, he said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.
Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied.
Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh.
Blessed are you when people hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man."
This is speaking about heavenly rewards, not in the here and now.
Our rewards are eternal, not necessarily temporal, or realized here in this lifetime. No. We're not promised a rose garden life as Christians. We're also warned that the Christian life will be particularly challenging. They hated and brutally murdered Jesus. Our savior warns that to be his followers, we MUST be prepared to pick up our own cross of suffering. Rather than an abundance of blessings, we are encouraged to keep a proper perspective and strive to finish the race.
God does want the best for his children, just as we pray that our offspring. We grieve when our children go down the wrong path as God disapproves when we fall short of his Holy ideals.