JUNE 17. Ord Time. B. Wk. 11. Thu. Mt. 6. 7-15
Jesus said to his disciples: ‘In your prayers do not babble as the pagans do, for they think that by using many words they will make themselves heard. Do not be like them; your Father knows what you need before you ask him. So, you should pray like this:
‘Our Father in heaven,
may your name be held holy,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we have forgiven those who are in debt to us.
And do not put us to the test,
but save us from the evil one.
‘Yes, if you forgive others their failings, your heavenly Father will forgive you yours; but if you do not forgive others, your Father will not forgive your failings either.’
The Our Father is a wonderful prayer; - but in using it we need to be aware of the demands it makes of us. In short it acknowledges one’s belief in God the Creator, and it goes on to ask that God’s teachings; - which come to us via his Son; - will be observed by all of his people on earth; - as they are observed in heaven.
Then it goes on to ask that God provide for our daily needs, and forgive our failings; - as we have forgiven those who have hurt or offended us; - but then at the conclusion of the teaching on prayer; - Christ nominates the condition for these requests being heard; -
“If you forgive others their failings, your heavenly Father will forgive you yours; - but if you do not forgive others; - your Father will not forgive your failings either!”
What this means is Love is at the very heart of the Our Father; - and not just love of God; - but it places equal importance on love of neighbour; - which means the prayer is very much focused on the daily living of “The Great Commandment!”
It is very easy for us not to “see” this condition Christ has put on our prayers being heard; - namely that we love everybody on earth, irrespective of how they have treated us, what they believe, or how they live their lives!
And while we are generally alert to this truth in the context of the command to practice Charity, Christ in this teaching has linked the practice of our Compassion, Charity, and Mercy towards others to the effectiveness of our Prayer!
And did not Christ “live” this teaching himself, in that he offered his life; - not only for his faithful followers; - but also for sinners and those who rejected both his teachings and his love?
It is easy to profess love of neighbour; - but we often restrict this to the love of our “good” neighbours; - those living a “good” life; - but this is not the Love Christ taught or lived; - he wants us to love our “bad” neighbours; - the ones who offend us, and who he gave his life for!
Gospel Acclamation Rm8:15
You have received the Spirit which makes us God’s children,
and in that Spirit we call God our Father.