Reading 1, Deuteronomy 4:1, 5-9
Responsorial Psalm, Psalms 147:12-13, 15-16, 19-20
Gospel, Matthew 5:17-19
“…God is near us whenever we pray to him…”
[wind has been a sign of the Holy Spirit]
Are you freaking kidding me?! Read those words again…slower….
Big themes in the bible again….one of them is us being made in his image and likeness. We are very impressionable people, influenced by what we read, watch, think about, and who we allow to speak into our lives. It makes sense to me to create the space to be with the Lord Almighty–who is, who was, and who is to come. God, the one who saves, redeems, heals, and imparts wisdom through his decrees and word, longs for creation to reflect His image.
So when we pray, we are promised His Presence.
I don’t always “feel” God.
I don’t always “sense” God’s presence.
But time and experience tell me that God is present–directing, guiding, loving, blessing, healing.
I have a friend’s face in mind. A family member of his was sick. He asked for prayer. We wrote down the prayer and he shared it with the family member. I received a call a few hours later that all the symptoms were gone…miraculously! His face went from down-trodden to sheer joy and shock. “Your God listens to you!”
I am also picturing a young man who is experiencing some deep pain from past trauma. During our times together, we sat in silent prayer, staying present to the pain but all the while staying present to how God was with him in the pain and what God might be saying to him. Tears. Relaxed. Rested. Hopeful. Those are the words he uttered after praying.
I’m also aware that there are some prayers that feel like they’re falling on dead ears. My friend being shot at multiple times (gun violence). A friend who has cancer and it’s getting worse (health issues). A friend who didn’t get a career opportunity because he didn’t fit the typical role (systemic racism and injustice: he’s latino and NOT aggressively charismatic).
We don’t stop praying when we don’t hear the response we’re looking for. We lean into God’s faithfulness to hear the words, “I’m with you…I’m sorry…Be strong and courageous”.