Friar’s Corner: Our special joy? Praying the prayer Jesus taught

Fr. Bob Hilz, TOR

Fr. Bob Hilz, TOR

Genesis 18:20-32; Ps 138:1-3, 6-8; Colossians 2:12-14; Luke 11:1-13

Please continue to pray daily a Chaplet of Divine Mercy for the conversion of our country. And continue to pray for the conversion of all terrorists and a greater outpouring of God’s merciful love on all his children on earth. Thank you in Jesus holy Name.

In Biblical times the rabbis and John the Baptist had a core of about twelve men that they formed in prayer and life. The gospel text of St. Luke today shows Jesus following the same tradition. I shall stay focused on St. Luke’s version of the “Our Father.” I shall give you the text, which is slightly different from St. Matthew’s version.

A key to understanding is to remember that the apostles first taught Jews and then pagans. It is helpful to know your audience. Even now, it is helpful to know to whom you are speaking and what their needs are today. Each is different. Then you ask, “What is the message and how is the Holy Spirit guiding me in this situation?”

Jesus was praying in a particular place, before his daily work, asking his Father for direction. When he finished, one of his disciples asked him to teach them how to pray. This is what Jesus taught them.

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.

Well that is certainly very short and to the point. As the church grew over the centuries, St. Matthew’s text of that prayer was adopted. It was a little more directive about our prayer and life.

So Jesus was speaking to his Father. He acknowledged his name and person as holy. Remember God created all that exists and keeps everything in existence. He is the “energy” that holds all things together. Yet God is a person and wants to have a special relationship with all of his creatures. In the first reading today, from Genesis 18:20-32, Abraham was personally pleading with God not to destroy the city of Sodom. Abraham was not afraid of God; there was an honored relationship there. As Jesus prayed “before his daily work,” He sought his Father’s direction and blessing. Our personal baptism brought us, with and through Jesus Christ, into God’s kingdom as opposed to political or evil kingdom of the devil. We pray his kingdom of goodness and love come quickly and war and death end.

Then we ask God for our daily (spiritual) bread, which we have come to know is new life, especially in the New Testament and the real presence of Jesus at Mass in the consecrated bread and wine. Jesus said “give us each day our “daily bread.” Jesus is that daily bread. If we would realize this great gift of spiritual food, “This is My Body; this is the cup of My Blood,” many more would come to daily Mass. It is the best meal on earth. “Take this, all of you and eat it; this is My Body, which will be given up for you. Notice that sentence is in the present tense, every day, somewhere, all over the world, except on Good Friday. We have been doing this for almost two thousand years since the Last Supper. Amazing grace. Amen. Then some of us are lead to say from our hearts, “Oh, come, let us adore him, Christ our Lord!”

Then we acknowledge our sins and beg for forgiveness. The sins of the entire human race were forgiven when Jesus died on the cross. We receive that forgiveness whenever we acknowledge our sins and ask for God’s forgiveness. A further fact is that as we have been forgiven, we are to extend that forgiveness to all those who have sinned against us. Forgiveness is not an emotion but an act of our free will with the grace of God to forgive others. Sometimes the wound of another’s sins is so great that we can’t forgive. Yet we can ask God for the grace to forgive as he forgives the other person.

The last point is asking protection from the final attack of evil against us. As we look around at our culture and the world we are under attack a lot. At every Latin Mass there are two prayers for deliverance and protection from evil. Here at the end of the Our Father and the prayer immediately after it. “Deliver us, O Lord, from every evil and grant us peace in our days.”

May God give us understanding and wisdom to grasp these few thoughts and put them into practice in our daily lives.

Blessings,
+ Fr. Bob
(© 2016 Fr. Bob Hilz, TOR)

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About Nancy Ward

Nancy HC Ward is a journalist, author, and speaker who blogs about Catholicism, her conversion, and Christian community at JoyAlive.net,
 7 websites and 7 magazines. She loves to share her faith story and help others share theirs through her Sharing Your Faith Stories seminars, also available on DVD. She contributed four chapters to The Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion. She facilitates the Dallas/Fort Worth Catholic Writers and a critique group for the Catholic Writers Guild, where she serves as a board member.
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