“God gives, God takes away and God gives again.”

Way back in 1967, when I was a sophomore in college, I spent my summer vacation with my family on the farm. The crops were in bad shape that year because there was no rain from June 28th until August 28th. In fact, the hay, the oats and the corn were all ruined by the drought. In the midst of all this, my grandmother said, “God gives, God takes away and God gives again.”

We were hoping that her words would prove to be true. And the very next summer there was plenty of rain and the crops were terrific and once again my grandmother said: “God gives, God takes away, and God gives again.”

I share that story with you because it reveals to us how a parable is created. My grandmother took a look at what was happening in everyday life and used it to reveal what God is like.

A parable is something from everyday life that tells us what God is doing and what God is like. That’s a good working definition of a parable: A parable is something from everyday life that tells us what God is doing and what God is like.

When we look at the scriptures, we see that Jesus was a master at creating parables. Jesus was a pro at looking at things from everyday life and letting them reveal to us what God is doing in our world. When He saw a mustard seed, Jesus said, “Behold it is the smallest of all seeds. But when it grows up it will produce a large bush. The seed is small in itself; but God provides the growth.”

That’s the way it is with faith. Never say that your faith is too small. Even if your faith is small, like a mustard seed, God will provide the growth and faith will become strong and mature. Don’t complain that your faith is too small because God isn’t done with you yet……God will help your faith to grow!

Today’s Gospel contains the parable about the neighbor who keeps knocking at the door in the middle of the night. The neighbor keeps knocking and knocking. Finally, the father of the family gets up and says, “What do you want?’ The neighbor says, “I need some food.” So, the father gives him some food and he goes away and everyone is able to get some sleep.

That story tells us what God is like. God is the person who answers the door. If we keep knocking, God will eventually open the door. That’s what God is like. God will answer our prayers if we persevere.

Then Jesus said, “As long as we’re talking about petitions, let me teach you a prayer.” Then he proceeded to teach them the Lord’s Prayer. This prayer has three petitions buried inside of it.

The first petition goes like this: Give us this day our daily bread. We ask God to give us the strength and courage we need to get through the day.

The second petition says: Forgive us our trespasses. We know that God has forgiven the sins that we committed in the past; but we also need forgiveness for what we are doing today. No matter how hard we try, we end up doing things with mixed motives. We are partially selfish and partially loving. Until we get to heaven, we will be partially selfish and partially loving. That is why we need to receive continual forgiveness from God. And that is what we pray for in this petition. We want to receive God’s forgiveness every day.

The third petition says: Lead us not to the final test. That means: “Please, God, save us from the trials and tribulations that will come at the end of time. Please, Lord, save us from the volcanoes and the fires and the earthquakes which will bring everything to an end. Do not subject us to the final test.

I will close with a quick summary.

Let’s hold before us the parable of the neighbor who keeps knocking at the door. That parable reminds us to keep knocking at the door because we know that God will answer us. Our prayers will be answered in God’s own time and in God’s own way.

Let’s make sure that we say the Lord’s Prayer several times each day. That’s the prayer where we keep knocking at the door with our petitions. In that prayer, we ask God: to give us our daily bread, to forgive our trespasses, and to save us from the trial and tribulations of the last day.

Let’s take a moment now to formulate our petitions within our hearts.

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