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I got what I asked for… the flu. Why would I ask for the flu? One of the priests in our community got the flu and we told him that we would cover for him. We would take care of the Masses, confessions, appointments, etc. We just wanted him to get better. After a few days, I started to think that it must be pretty good to sleep in late, take naps during the day, have hot soup served to your room. “I want the flu.” Well, I got what I asked for but it wasn’t what I had in mind. The symptoms of my flu were so uncomfortable that I couldn’t sleep at night or take naps during the day. Of course, the longer I could not sleep the worse the symptoms. I finally ended up in the emergency room. The doctor asked me what he could do and I never thought I would ever hear the words that came out of my lips. “Codine, give me codeine, so I can sleep.” The doctor gave me enough cough medicine for one night. I sleep beautifully, and the flu went away.

During that time, I never asked God to take away my flu or to give me a doctor who would give me some sleep medicine. Why is that? I want my request to be so great that it matches the potential of the Giver.

A very successful businessman once asked me if I needed anything. I answered, “Fine, but if something comes up can I call you?” A few years later the front of the church started to deteriorate. So I gave him a call. He gave me a matching gift, and I was able to finance the project.

In the Gospel, two disciples approached Jesus and He asked them, “What do you want me to do for you? The disciples wanted seats of honor in the kingdom. I am not sure why. Jesus had already given the twelve disciples the seats of the twelve tribes of Israel. Apparently, the two wanted better seats. Not equal seats like the others, but more prestigious seats. In the very next scene. Jesus asked a blind man the exact same question. “What do you want me to do for you.” He answered, “I want to see.” And Jesus gave him sight and he used that sight to follow Jesus. He used the gift to do something important.

At the crucifixion, the two that were crucified with Jesus both had requests. One wanted to come down from the cross and live. The other one wanted eternal so he could do something great with it: to be with his Lord and God for all eternity. A much better gift.

Michael Jordan is arguably the best basketball player. He was famous for the fade-away jumper. Let me explain what that is. If I jump in the air, I am only able to do one thing while in mid-air–come back down to earth. Michael Jordan could change positions with his body while in mid-air. I thought only cats could do that. I could ask Michael how he does that, but he could not just hand me the skill. Otherwise, I could be in the NBA. No one can just hand me their skill except for one person: God. God does things really well, keeps promises, He is compassionate, He reconciles, and He is generous with His gifts. That is what I want to ask. Divine skills that will allow me to do great things like the blind man and the good thief on the cross. When you pray make sure you ask for the right gift. Make sure it matches the potential of the Giver.

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