July 28, 2019: The Seventeenth Sunday of Ordinary Time

When we ask for a snake.


“And I tell you, ask and you will receive;
seek and you will find;
knock and the door will be opened to you.”

Luke 11:9

As a child, I was a bit conflicted about my early January birthday. Initially, I enjoyed the incredible rush of receiving major gifts two different times in the span of eleven days. However, before long, I turned my focus toward the great tragedy of waiting 354 days between these events. It seemed like every summer, there was a different toy I wanted that far exceeded my means.

I will never forget the summer that my sister received her first bicycle. I had given up my bike for greater things, or so I thought. But the moment I saw my sister receive that bike, I knew that I too needed a bike. As was the usual case, I quickly saw that my current savings just couldn’t afford such a gift. With frustration that I had six more months until Christmas, I began to plead to my parents for a bike. I remember asking for any bike that I saw. It didn’t matter what brand, or what store. If Walgreens had sold a bike, I would have demanded it. So far away from Christmas, I was willing to settle for whatever I could get.

Although I didn’t deserve it, I did not have to wait six months for a bike. My dad was very good to me, and I did not receive any of the bikes I had demanded from those stores. My dad had spent the next few weeks really researching bikes. He bought me an incredible mountain bike that I did not even know existed. My dad listened to me, but he also knew better than me.

This is our Father in today’s Gospel. Our loving God does hear our prayers, but thankfully for us, he does not answer them exactly. He knows we don’t have the means. He may see us grasping for the things of this world, for Walgreens bikes, but he knows about better things, heavenly things.

Not only will God hand us a fish when we ask for a fish. He will hand us a fish when we ask for a snake.

Christopher Meyer is a seminarian studying for the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. He likes sports, and he loves Jesus and the Church. For a strange combination of sports and theology, you can find him on Twitter.