Two men walking approached a standing ladder. One passed right under it. His companion, however, gave it a wide birth. “You don’t believe that old superstition, do you?” asked the first man. “Not really,” the other answered, “but I don’t want to take any chances- just in case.”
Sometimes we approach prayer the way the second man approached the ladder. We don’t really think it’s going to make a difference, but we go ahead and do it – just in case.
That’s how Peter thought in today’s gospel, when he expressed amazement that a fig tree Jesus cursed had withered. Jesus used this moment to teach us that we shouldn’t be surprised or shocked when our prayers make a difference. Prayer isn’t like wishing upon a star or tossing a coin down a well. Instead, our prayers are offered to a living God who listens, cares, and who always answers in the way that’s best for us. Prayer changes things, and we should always have faith that it does.
We don’t want to be like the crowd who gathered during a drought to pray for rain. The priest sent them home, insisting it wouldn’t rain that day. “Why not?” they demanded. “Because none of you brought an umbrella.”
Readings for today’s Mass: http://www.usccb.org/nab/030411.shtml