Fifth Sunday After Easter GOSPEL John 16:23-30 The Wednesday Meditation
At that time Jesus saith to His disciples: "Amen, amen, I say to you: if you ask the Father any thing in My Name, He will give it to you. Hitherto you have not asked any thing in my name: Ask, and you shall receive, that your joy may be full. These things I have spoken to you in proverbs. The hour cometh when I will no more speak to you in proverbs, but I will show you plainly of the Father. In that day you shall ask in My Name; and I say not to you that I will ask the Father for you: for the Father Himself loveth you, because you have loved Me and have believed that I came out from God. I came forth from the Father and am come into the world; again I leave the world and I go to the Father." His disciples say to Him: Behold, now Thou speakest plainly and speakest no proverb. Now we know that Thou knowest all things and Thou needest not that any man should ask of Thee: by this we believe that Thou camest forth from God.
There be some that bare that great affection unto others, either wife, children, or friends, that whosoever asketh them anything for their sake being such as love & honor them, that they have no power to deny them, yea their very enemy if he ask them any thing for their sake, shall fair the better, which is a great honor unto them. Thus hath God loved some men, and left it testified unto us, in the holy Scripture. Of David he sayeth thus, unto king Ezechias, praying earnestly for Gods protection of the holy city of Jerusalem against the King of Assyria, that threatened the ruin thereof, I will protect this City,and save it for myself and for David my servant. Yea God favored his very Enemies for his friends sake. Esau, who was a wicked man, an Idolater, & one of whom God said, Esau have I hated,and yet he said thus of him, and his children unto the Jews: I will not give you any thing of the land of the children of Esau, not so much as one foot, which was because he was the son of Issac, whom God loved: and the like of the sons of Loth.
If God will grant the petitions of men, and will do them favors for the love of his servants, and poor creatures whom he loveth, will he not do so for the love of his only begotten son Christ Jesus? And if the love of men towards their friends be so great that they will do great favors to others, for their sake, to honor them thereby, how much greater things will God give unto men for the love of his son, and in honor of him, if they ask it in his name, and for his sake? that is to say, in his faith and love; of whom God the Father said thus by a voice from heaven, when he was baptized of St. John, in the river Jordan, and the holy Ghost sitting over him in the form of a dove: This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, hear him: as if he should say, if you hear him, you hear me, if you love him, you love me, if you serve him, you serve me, if you honor him you honor me.
And as God the Father said thus of the son, so sayeth the son here of his Father, nay he swore it, Verily, verily, whatsoever you ask my Father in my name, he will give it you, for my Father, (sayeth he) loveth you because you love me, nay which is more comfortable unto us, he is our Father also, as well as his, his by nature, ours by grace and adoption; I do ascend, said Christ unto his disciples a little before his Ascension, unto my Father, and your Father, my God and your God.
Oh what a comfort and honor is this to have God for our Father! This name was never before given to men in the old Testament, nor none ever presumed to use it, till Christ taught us in the Gospel to say, Our Father which art in heaven, giving us as St. Paul saith, the spirit of children to say unto God Abba, that is to say, Father. This very name did God give unto us, in his son and for his sake. This is to ask God the Father in the name of Christ to wit, for the love he beareth unto him. Also to ask in his name is to ask in his merits and deserts for us, we ourselves having none, but such as have their virtue by his, & therefore at the end of our prayers we say, Through Christ our Lord, and in his name, and for his sake.
The Patriarch Joseph when his brothers that had sold him came into Egypt, out of their own Country in a time of dearth to buy corn, and had left their brother Benjamin at home, whom Joseph loved and desired much to see, he loaded them home with corn, and bid them come again for more, only he charged them to bring their brother Benjamin with them, or else they should not see his face again. When we come to God, and ask any thing, we must always bring with us Jesus Christ our brother, in whom God is well pleased, that is to say, we must make all our petitions in the name and merits of Christ, if we will make them acceptable in the sight of God.
Lastly in that Christ is so liberal with us, as to obtain of his Father what soever we ask in his name, we may learn to be liberal with the poor, that ask us in his name, and if they should not ask, yet their poverty and necessity it self doth ask, in the name of Christ, because he telleth us, what we do unto them, we do unto him, which is as much as if he had begged for them, or in their persons.
A Plaine Path-Way To Heaven By Fr.Thomas Hill 1634