Reflection on the Daily Readings for 10/07/09 by Fr. Bertrand Buby, SM
Scripture: Lectionary # 463. Wed. of 27th week. Jonah 4:1-11. Psalm
86:3-4.5-6.9-10. Luke 11:1-4.
Sometimes we get tired of repeating the same prayers. There is a solution.
Try a different Gospel version of it if it comes from the Bible or get a
different translation and you will discover a refreshing experience of the
prayer. This happens today when the disciples ask Jesus to teach them how
to pray. We have a different version of the Lord’s Prayer (Our Father) in
Luke from that of the one we hear each day at the Eucharist or which we say
at the beginning of each decade of the rosary. It is a shorter prayer from
Jesus through Luke’s careful writing and parts of it may be older than some
of the phrases in Matthew. That is not the important thing about it; rather
it is the new look at how Jesus teaches us to pray this all too familiar
prayer. Matthew’s version, of course, is more in tune with the liturgical
form of prayer and has been with us since the beginning. Luke gives us a
chance to pray the shorter version with more attention and possibly more
devotion! Here is Luke’s version. Notice how it is not “Our Father” as the
address to God, but simply, and intimately, “Father”.
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.
Perhaps, Luke’ version is more personally intimate due to its direct
address of God as Father here. Intimacy is a gift of love that we all
desire and through our faith of the heart and mind we attain the prayer of
love. Luke’s scene of introducing prayer here has already been supported by
his many other references to prayer; he is the Evangelist of prayer in both
his Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles. We are led into the intimacy of
Jesus with his disciples through this prayer. He goes beyond what John the
Baptist had taught his disciples. We learn this through the request of the
disciples after they have observed Jesus at prayer. That would move anyone
who had the occasion to see him at prayer. They then were inspired to ask
him to teach them how to pray for even John the Baptist did that for his
followers. Jesus never refuses a graced moment to teach and to give a
spiritual gift to someone.
We may be so used to saying the Lord’s prayer in Matthew’s form that we
glide over too quickly and without much reflection. This shorter form gives
us an opportunity for a short lectio divina or some reflective moments on a
biblical passage, namely, the one given to us today in Luke’s Gospel. The
Lord’s prayer is the most fundamental one in the Christian Bible and it can
lead us to intimacy with God through what God’s Son, Jesus, has taught us.
Three verses are easily meditated upon in contrast to the seven
eschatological petitions we find in Matthew. The version of Luke can thus
be of support in helping us to pray the traditional one more fervently and
with attention. In both of them we have a concern for the ultimate goal of
our lives–to be united with God in the afterlife. The inner make-up of
the prayer contains the “strategies” necessary to reach our goal which is
intimate union with God.
Today Jesus is giving us a refresher course in prayer. Let us seize the
opportunity ( Carpe Diem as the Romans would say). Amen.