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(Part 47)


May 10, 2013
Today’s gospel: John 16:20-23

Once again, Jesus says, “Amen, amen, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you.” (Jn 16:23b). Jesus says this same thing a number of times. “And whatever you ask in my name, I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything of me in my name, I will do it.” (Jn 14:13-14).

This is not a magic formula, where we simply ask in Jesus’ name and whatever we ask is given to or done for us. Many times we ask for things that will not be good for us, so God will not give those to us. Many times we ask for things that, though not bad, are not in accordance with God’s plan for us, so God will not give those to us. Many times we ask for things that may be good and not in contradiction to God’s plan for us, but we cannot just use Jesus’ name as a formula to get what we want. It is not intended for that.

So in what way can we invoke Jesus’ name and be given what we ask for? First, it depends on who and what we are or are becoming. Second, it has to do with Jesus’ mission, particularly the work of evangelization.

So first, we need to live Christ. Jesus says, “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you.” (Jn 15:7). To remain in Jesus is to be in his presence, in his embrace, having a deep intimate personal relationship with him. To let his words remain in us is to be obedient to Jesus, to live his way of life, including his very hard teachings. If we remain in Jesus and his words remain in us, then we have become another Christ, as God intends us to become. Then we are becoming holy as God is holy. As such, we have the mind and heart of Christ. As such, whatever we ask for will be in accordance with God’s will, and will thus be done for us.

Second, we are called to share Christ. Jesus says, “It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you.” (Jn 15:16). God chose us to continue the work of proclaiming the salvation he won on the cross to all. This is the most important work in the world. Jesus won salvation for all, but they need to hear this good news in order to accept it and be saved. In accepting Jesus as Savior and Lord, people will experience the fruit of a good life, with ultimate fruit being heaven. This is what it is all about, pilgrims making their way to heaven. As such, Jesus appoints us to go. In going about this work, we need the grace of God and the power of the Spirit. We need wisdom from on high. We need spiritual weapons. We need to endure and to persevere. We need to rise up from seeming defeats. We need to know the victory already won by Jesus. Thus we ask all these from God as we go and evangelize, as we share Christ. When we do, we are asking in Jesus’ name, the very name we proclaim, doing the very work Jesus himself sent us to do. Being in accordance with God’s will, what we ask will be granted.

We pray for the grace and strength to respond to the call to the New Evangelization .... in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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