Thus begin our prayers and perhaps also our days: With this sign of the cross, which connects heaven and earth and which symbolizes our bond with God, we take our place in the relationship between the Father, the Son and the Spirit. But we still need to learn to pray, like the disciples who perceived that dialogue with God was necessary for them, and that the interlocutor, however, sometimes remains very silent!!!
They therefore trust that the master receives from him the words that lead to God. And there, first astonishment, Jesus refreshes their memory, as if to make them live better in their faith in God. The first four prayers of the Lord’s Prayer take words from the Jewish liturgy, which celebrates the God of the first covenant with the names he was given. The holiness of God’s name is like the first sign of the power of his promise.
The second lesson of this word is that humanity’s bond with God is through Jesus. All prayer is concentrated in the heart of Christ to ascend to the Father. And there Jesus assumes the role of the righteous, thanks to whom the city of Sodom is saved. If in the story of Abraham it is necessary to negotiate with God so that he does not destroy the city of sin, with Jesus it is no longer a matter of negotiation, but of the grace of salvation. Through the Son, with him and in him, the mercy of the Father is given to all mankind. Love took over from this kind of arm wrestling with God to achieve justice.
“The Lord’s Prayer only makes sense when it is open to others”
The third discovery of prayer with Jesus is that God is attentive to humanity’s most immediate needs: bread and peace. The second part of today’s Gospel evokes these very simple bonds that allow us to live in service to others: knock and it will be opened to you, give and you will receive! If human bonds permit this attention to the needs of the other, how much more so is our bond with God, who promises life. Like the God of the first covenant, the God of Jesus Christ sees the misery of his people and delivers them by his mercy from all evil.
By calling God Father we learn to be sons and daughters. A father is only a father through his children, and children are only sons and daughters through their parents. Praying to God as our Father is equivalent to recognizing ourselves as his children, in whom life and love are born. Our dignity as children of God establishes us as expressions of his presence in our world and in our time.
Finally, we observe with joy that all this prayer only makes sense when it is open to others. No selfish interest in Our Father’s requests. They are all formulated in the plural. To say “our Father” is to acknowledge that he belongs to all mankind. The “us” in each request establishes us collectively as recipients of divine care. There is no prayer that is only individual, but there is a community that unites us in the same hopes and the same praise.
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit! It is in God, who is a relationship of love, that the bond of human community arises and the common interest in his will being done on earth as it is in heaven!
Philip Matthey | Friday, July 22, 2022
Luke 11, 1-13
It happened that Jesus was praying in a certain place.
When he was finished,
one of his disciples asked him:
“Lord, teach us to pray,
as John the Baptist also taught his disciples.”
He answered them:
“When you pray, say:
Hallowed be thy name,
thy kingdom come.
give us the bread
what we need every day
Forgive us our sins,
because we also forgive ourselves
to all those who have wronged us.
And let us not enter into temptation.”
Jesus said to them again:
“Imagine one of you has a friend
and find him in the middle of the night to ask him:
›My friend, lend me three loaves,
because one of my friends came home from a trip,
and I have nothing to offer him.’
And if the other from within answers:
›Don’t hurt me!
The door is already closed;
my children and I went to bed.
I can’t get up to give you anything’.
Well! I tell you:
though he rise not to give of friendship,
he will rise because of this friend’s carelessness,
and he will give her everything she needs.
I tell you:
Ask, and you shall be given;
seek, you will find;
knock, it will be opened for you.
Yea, he that asketh receiveth;
who seek finds;
who knocks, we open.
What father among you, when his son asks him for a fish,
give him a snake instead of a fish?
or give him a scorpion
when he asks for an egg?
If therefore you, who are evil,
you know how to give good things to your children,
how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit
to those who ask him!”
© Catholic Media Center Cath-Info, 22/07/2022
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