Gospel: Matthew 6:7-15
When you pray, do not use a lot of words, as the pagans do; for they believe that, the more they say, the more chance they have of being heard. Do not be like them. Your Father knows what you need, even before you ask him.
This, then, is how you should pray: Our Father in heaven,
holy be your name, your kingdom, come,
your will, be done on earth, as in heaven. Give us today, our daily bread.
Forgive us our debts,
as we forgive those who are in debt to us. Do not bring us to the test,
but deliver us from the evil one.
If you forgive others their wrongdoings, your Father in heaven will also forgive yours.
If you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive you.
“Your Father knows what you need, even before you ask him.”
This precious prayer is part of the Eucharistic liturgy. In repeating these words we are not only following Jesus’ instructions; we are repeating the very words he spoke to his disciples. Just as he is truly present to us in the Eucharist, so he is present to us, praying through the Spirit, when we repeat his words.
Of course there is a difference between truly praying, and merely repeating “a lot of words, as the pagans do.” Yes, it is wonderful to invoke God’s holy name, to pray in confidence for our daily needs, and to pray for deliverance from temptation. But the greater part of the Gospel text is actually about what we must do: Forgive others. This is crucially tied to the forgiveness we seek. If we forgive others, God will also forgive us; if we do not forgive others, neither will we be forgiven.
When we forgive others, Jesus is truly present. When we work for a world where every- one is assured of both bread and mercy, then God’s will is done on earth as in heaven. With this prayer that revolution of the heart begins.
© Copyright Bible Diary 2019