Tuesday, August 19, 2014
Camels and prayer: Daily Mass Homily--Tuesday, August 19th, 2014
When we read the Bible it is important to get in the mind of the sacred author. For instance, when you heard Jesus’ words, “…it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of God…” you probably imagined this big animal trying to pass through the eye of a sewing needle. That is not the comparison Jesus used.
In the time of Christ, travel was often made by camel. Thieves and hoodlums were a constant danger for travelers and men needed to be defend themselves and their goods. One of the places they sought for protection was in a cave with a small opening—the eye of the needle. They would go inside and back their camel into the opening to prevent the would-be-robber from entering.
I would like to apply this metaphor to our prayer life. Imagine you are the one trying to get a treasure—a desire or intercession—in the cave. There seems to be a barrier (the camel) between you and your desire. What should you do? You should ask to answer (ie. present your petition to the Lord). God may answer yes and allow you in. He may say no and at that point it is time to find a different cave! Finally, God may say not yet and encourage you to patience.
In prayer, “for God all things are possible.” He always hears our prayers, though the answer may not always be the one we want.
For many years I prayed constantly to know God’s will for my life. Would I be a priest? Would I get married and find a career? This desire permeated my prayer life and at times it felt impossible to know which way to go. Praise God, through patience God made known—over several years—His will for me.
Continue to present your petitions to the Lord. Know that He always answers our prayers and that for God, all things are possible.