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"Ask in My Name"
May 28th Readings Reflection: Saturday of the Sixth Week of Easter
Today’s Gospel reading comes from the end of Jesus’ last discourse to His Apostles before His Passion. Fully knowing what was about to happen to Him, as well as what the disciples would suffer because of their faith in Him, Jesus gave them a beautiful promise: “[W]hatever you ask the Father in [M]y name [H]e will give you.”
This week, we celebrated Ascension Thursday, a great feast of hope and faith. When Jesus was lifted up to Heaven before their eyes, the Apostles remained looking up at the sky, trying to fully understand what had just happened. Two angels then appeared to them and reminded them of Jesus’ promise to return one day. Encouraged by this promise, the Apostles had the strength to return to Jerusalem and wait for the Holy Spirit, Whom Jesus had promised to send.
Similarly, today’s Gospel is also about faith. Jesus said that it was time for Him to return to the Father, but He did not abandon His Apostles and the Church. He called the faithful to have faith and to hope in what they can no longer see before their eyes. Christ is in Heaven with His Father now, but His promise still holds true for those who love and believe in Him. Even though Jesus no longer physically walks the earth, He is still with us through His Church and the Eucharist, “even to the consummation of the world” (Mat 28:20b DRB).
In the realm of apologetics, there is the frequently repeated question as to why God does not always answer prayers offered in Jesus’ name; surely, some argue, this is breaking the promise He gave to His disciples. It is important to remember, however, that God’s ways are not our ways (cf. Is 55:8). He answers our prayers in accordance with His Will, in the way that He, in His infinite wisdom, knows to be best. This is not always what we think is best from our limited perspective, but we must humble ourselves and accept everything as coming from the hand of God, trusting that He knows what is truly best for us.
During His Agony in the Garden, Jesus prayed that the Father would “remove this chalice from me: but not yet [M]y will, but [T]hine be done” (Lk 22:42, emphasis added). This total resignation to the Divine Will is vital to every petitionary prayer. While we must have complete trust that God will answer our prayers offered in Jesus’ Name, we must also be fully resigned to the Will of God, knowing that He may answer our prayers in a way that we do not expect or desire.
Today, as we begin to prepare for the feast of Pentecost next week, let us strive to increase our faith and trust in God, offering our prayers to the Father in Jesus’ Name and trusting that He will answer them according to His Will.
Grant to us, O Lord, who are filled with strength from this heavenly Table, that we may both desire what is right and obtain what we desire. Through Our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who lives and reigns with Thee in the unity of the holy Ghost, God, forever and ever. Amen (Postcommunion from the Fifth Sunday after Easter, Roman Catholic Daily Missal 1962 (Kansas City, MO: Angelus Press, 2005), 644.