Reading and meditation on the Word of God, Thursday of the 11th week in ordinary time
June 17, 2021
Reading is delivered by Mayolisia Ekayanti from Saint Anna Church in Duren Sawit Jakarta, Indonesia and meditation delivered Brother Linus, SDB from Don Bosco Theological Study in Manila, Philippines.
The reading is taken from the Holy Gospel according to Matthew
Jesus said to his disciples:
“In praying, do not babble like the pagans,
who think that they will be heard because of their many words.
Do not be like them.
Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
“This is how you are to pray:
‘Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.’
“If you forgive others their transgressions,
your heavenly Father will forgive you.
But if you do not forgive others,
neither will your Father forgive your transgressions.”
The Gospel of the Lord.
The theme for our meditation today is: Our Father Who art In Heaven. This is the expression of the first sentence of the prayer “Our Father” which we know as the prayer of the Lord Jesus Christ. This prayer comes from the very heart and mind of Jesus, so it is definitely Jesus’ own prayer. Of all the prayers of Jesus in the New Testament, this prayer is the one we know and remember the most. Why? Because Jesus taught himself this prayer to His disciples and all of usHis beloved followers.
There is a particular question that arises from this understanding about Jesus’ own prayer that can enrich our reflection, which says: if this prayer is Jesus’ own prayer, then why does it say: Our Father… and not preferably saying “My Father who art in heaven”, to clearly emphasize the prayer of Jesus Himself? If Jesus himself had formulated it and then He surely used it to express His personal relationship with the Father, it would be inappropriate to use the pronoun “we”, which means involving people other than Himself.
The Fathers and Leaders of the Church such as Saint Cyprian and Pope Leo the Great, in their reflections, say that Jesus Christ is an open and universal God. His teachings and prayers are also open and universal. His personal relationship with the Father in heaven is to be shared and becoming the same relationship among His followers. This prayer is a prayer in unity with Jesus to the Heavenly Father, to offer our confession of faith, to express our thanksgiving and torequest that He may grant our various needs.
That first sentence of the prayer “Our Father” describes a close or intimate relationship. Jesus wants us to be so close to our Heavenly Father, and He had stretched out His hands on the cross to reconcile us to God the Father. The almighty God called as the “Father” is an innovation of Jesus. Before Jesus, there had been none of such God-man relationship like the Father-Son relationship. This unity of Father-Son relationship is a perfect unity and cannot be changed. St. Paul says this in his second letter to the Corinthians as our first reading today.
This relationship really makes us so precious in God’s eyes as we continuously receive blessings from the Father that fulfill our physical and spiritual needs. When we pray “Our Father” both personally and with other people, it’s like a moment of opening the spring from the Father that flows all the graces to us. Our request for a miracle to happen can be made anywhere and anytime. What we need to do is to pray the “Our Father” properly, that is, first of all to glorify and to give Him thanks, and then to ask blessings from the Father.
Let’s pray. In the name of the Father… O Lord Jesus Christ, may every time we pray the “Our Father”, we will always dispose ourselves in humility and in a joyful heart. Glory to the Father… In the name of the Father…