Thursday, June 21, 2007
Homily on the Lord's Prayer Matthew 6, 7-15
In our Gospel today, Jesus teaches us that it is not the amount of words, nor the time we spend, but faith that is important as we pray to our Father in heaven.
This does not preclude spending an extended time in prayer. We see in the Gospels how Jesus spent whole nights in prayer. Nor does the teaching preclude the use of repetition in prayer as we do in the rosary, as long as we have the right intention and don’t look upon it as some sort of incantation. The most important part of the rosary is our meditation on the meditations in which we reflect on the lives of Jesus and Mary.
“Our Father, who is in heaven.” God is not an impersonal force, but Our Father in heaven. Our relationship with him should be a relationship built on love and trust, more than fear of hell.
“Hallowed be thy name.” Reverence is due to God’s Holy Name. His name should be honored and acknowledged by all creatures. We ask that his name be kept holy, not for his sake, but for ours. Irreverence degrades the irreverent person. Sin hurts God only in the sense that he loves us and hates seeing us degrade ourselves. We should pray the Divine Praises in reparation for sins of blasphemy.
“Thy Kingdom come.” Some people fear the end of the world, but we pray “Thy Kingdom Come”. We pray that justice may done on this earth. We pray that we might bring it about through our actions, especially through faithfulness to our daily duty.
“Thy will be done.” We ask God’s grace to fulfill his commands because in his will is our peace. God only commands what is ultimately good for us. When we obey his commands, we become instruments of his love.
“Give us this day our daily bread.” We don’t pray for an annual, monthly or even weekly supply. We ask simply for the needs of the current day. Alcoholics Anonymous encourages its members to remain sober by focusing on day at a time. The