Reflection on the Daily Readings for 6/18/09 by Fr. Bertrand Buby, SM
Scripture for Thurs. of 3 week. II Cor. 11:1-11. Psalm 111:1-2.3-4. 7-8.
Matthew 6:7-15. Lectionary # 368:
What a great gift we receive from Jesus today as we hear how he teaches his
apostles and us how to pray. It is the greatest prayer within Christianity
and the Jewish people have prayers that are similar. After all, Jesus is
Jewish and has brought what he knows from the Hebrew Scriptures and
traditions what is his prayer. There are two other early versions of this,
but the one given today is the richest in expression and content for it
contains what the other two say. The other references to the Lord’s Prayer
are in Luke 11:2-4; Didache (Teaching of the Twelve) 8:2.
This prayer is probably the greatest in the New Testament since it is the
Lord Jesus’ and is given to his most intimate friends and to us. In the
early Church and also in our Catechetical practice, those who are preparing
to receive the Eucharist are to be instructed as catechumens before saying
the Our Father at Mass and then to receive Communion. This is highlighted
in the Easter vigil celebration of the sacrament of Baptism and the
Jesus assures us that the Father knows what we need best and most. This
prayer helps us to express our needs in such a way that they are in
conformity with God’s will. We unite ourselves to the Father in heaven
with those who have and do the will of God; we want to do the same here on
earth just as they are doing God’s will in heaven. We pray then with our
community on earth and join with the Communion of Saints in heaven. God is
our Father. We say “our” not “my” Father. Then several petitions follow and
they are in conformity with what Jesus sees as the way to doing God’s will
here on earth. We have daily nourishment from the Lord in the form of
bread both daily and natural as well as the gift of Bread from the
Eucharist. Body and soul are nourished. Then forgiveness is strongly
emphasized as the prayer of Jesus comes to its conclusion. We are helped by
the words found in Matthew that are added to the Our Father: “If you
forgive the faults of others, your heavenly Father will forgive you yours.
If you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive you.” Amen.