Reflection for Friday May 3, 2019: Saints Phillip and James, Apostles.

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Scholer, Steve
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My wife of 35-plus years has an interesting way of asking for help. She gets nervous if her car has less than a half a tank of gas. More times than I can remember, after dinner she will ask me, "Are you going out tonight?" which is code for "Will you take my car and fill it up?"|I know what she wants – a full tank of gas – but often I tease her and say, "No, I am just going to stay home and read." I pause, watch her shoulders slump, and then say, "But if you want me to get gas for your car, I would be glad to." And I am and I do.|For many of us, asking for help or even a mere favor is not easy.|For some, asking for help may feel like a sign of weakness or inadequacy to handle something on our own. It may conflict with our ideal views of ourselves, that we can do anything we set our mind to, and we don't need help from anyone! (Why would any of us want to let our families, friends or co-workers know otherwise?)|For others, asking for help may lead to a fear of rejection, that our request will be denied. The flip side to that is fearing that the person we ask actually will help us and will now expect us to help them in return, and then we will be obligated to oblige.|So that brings us to the Book of John and today's Gospel, wherein Jesus reminds Thomas of an oft repeated theme in the Bible, "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."|How often do we, in our prayers, focus more on thanking God for the blessings we have received during the day, than on asking for his help in our lives? Are we at ease asking for God's help, or does our reluctance align with some of the reasons stated above? Hopefully, we are not neglecting to ask for God's assistance for fear that it would obligate us to reciprocate through our own Godly deeds and actions.|Asking for help can make us feel vulnerable. Asking for help takes courage. But it is a courage born from self-awareness.|There are benefits to having someone help us. Partnership, communication and collaboration are born from asking for and accepting help from another. When my wife and I ask for and render assistance to one another, it re-affirms the closeness and interdependence that we have cultivated over the years.|Today, as we spend our allotted time in reflection and examination of conscience, perhaps we should focus on the content of our prayer. Are our prayers filled with a multitude of shallow thank yous (maybe for the nice spring weather) or, do our prayers include an earnest request for God to step into our lives and to help us?|A genuine plea for God's assistance in whatever is troubling us can bring us even closer to a grace-filled life for God is there, waiting to listen to our concerns.|Let's not be afraid to invite him to help us.
University Ministry, Creighton University.
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