The Lord’s Prayer – July 2019

“Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread and forgive us our sins
for we ourselves forgive everyone in debt to us,
and do not subject us to the final test.”

Luke 10:27

My Sisters and Brothers in Christ:

Jesus offers us such a simple prayer to pray, rich with meaning and breadth of instruction. It is a prayer of relationship. It does not carry the word, “I”. Rather, Jesus teaches us to pray with You because we are in relationship with God and our prayer is a dialogue. We first thank God for all His goodness to us, by telling Him our greeting, hallowed be Your name. Jesus teaches us to pray with ‘You on our lips, because our prayer is always a dialogue: ‘blessed be Your name, Your kingdom come, Your will be done’. We are invited to know God, not as a parent hovering over his helpless children, but from our own ability to give life to others. God is more caring than any of our earthly abilities. We turn to Him in loving confidence.

In the Lord’s Prayer there is no bargaining with God, but an abundant closeness as we are part of His family. This prayer is rooted in the generosity of God whose will is always for our good. After we thank God, we continue our dialogue and together as a community of faith, implore Him to assist us in living our faith: ‘give us our daily bread, forgive us our sins, lead us not into temptation, deliver us from evil’.

Unlike human society which tends to follow its own interests regardless or even to the detriment of others, we, the community of believers reject individualism in favor of sharing and solidarity. Jesus teaches us, as Pope Francis said that, “In Christian prayer, no one asks for bread for themselves: give me bread today — no, give us, it is asked for all, for all the world’s poor. We must not forget this. The word ‘I’ is missing. We pray by using ‘you’ and ‘we’. It is a good lesson from Jesus.”

Our prayer as Jesus taught is a prayer filled with ardent trust in God who wants good, life and salvation for us. The Lord’s Prayer kindles in us “the same love as Jesus’ love for the Father’s will, a flame that spurs us to transform the world with love,” said Pope Francis. Why do we ask for daily bread? The early Christians so associated the word bread with the Eucharist, the bread of life from the heart of Jesus. In the midst of a world filled with war, abuse of power, exploitation, we join with the Father to receive our daily bread, this life transforming Eucharist, to overcome evil with good and bring about peace.

As we are of the family of God, we pray, “Your kingdom come!” Jesus has come; but the world is still marked by sin, inhabited by many people who suffer, by people who do not want to reconcile and do not forgive, by war and many forms of exploitation. When the cries of the lowly reach the heavens, they also reach us. Jesus is teaching us that God provides for us so that we cannot ignore these cries. We are His Body and must minister to those children and families who seek refuge from violence, persecution, poverty, trafficking.

Let us truly forgive everyone in debt to us, that God’s kingdom renews the face of the earth.