I noticed something in the gospel for this morning (LK 11:5-13) in which Jesus is speaking about perseverance in prayer. It’s the “ask and you will receive, seek and you will find…” passage where he mentions several food items (loaves of bread, fish and eggs) that should be given when asked for and other things (snakes, scorpions…) that no one – especially a parent – would give to a child. I always interpreted the passage according to those parameters, but the last verse of the reading (always there but overlooked by me) gives a different spin to the whole thing. If you know how to give good gifts to your children, he says, how much more will the Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask?
So Jesus uses the analogy of feeding our children with good food for the purpose of talking about spiritual gifts. The answer to consistent prayer might not be the kind of “food” we’re looking for, but if we are awake enough to ask for God to fill us with the Holy Spirit, our discernment will lead us to what is truly good for us and that will be our strength.