Click here to download this week’s bulletin. Prayer is an important tool for a fruitful Lenten journey. In a short homily on Matthew 6:5-15, proclaimed on Wednesday of the first week of Lent, I offered the following reflection on the Lord’s Prayer. Prayer is not about words, much less about many words. Jesus wants us not to babble like the pagans who think they will be heard because of their many words. God knows what we need before we ask Him. Prayer is about relations and about doing. The first words of the Lord’s Prayer highlight a relationship. Jesus teaches us that God is our Father, not our judge, not our teacher, not our corrector, but first and foremost Our Father. The more we experience God’s fatherly love for us, the more fruitful our prayer will be. Jesus’ prayer was perfect and efficacious because of His deep intimacy with His Father. These are two important things we ought to learn from Him: Bless the Lord and build His Kingdom. This is the purpose of our lives as the Catechism teaches. God is worthy to be glorified in words and deeds by our whole being because our existence itself is His gift to us.
Our mission, whatever our personal vocation, is to spread the Kingdom, i.e., a new world in which we promote truth and love, justice and peace. Prayer is also about doing. In Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus teaches that “not everyone who says to me ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the Kingdom of heaven but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.” This is why in the “Our Father,” He wants us to pray “Thy will be done.” Only when we accept God’s will, the Kingdom of God will be at hand for us. We cannot pray with sincerity of heart unless God Himself becomes our role model. Jesus teaches to trust God and to be open to His loving forgiveness despite our sinfulness. He also urges us to imitate God’s goodness in extending our loving forgiveness for those who “trespass against us.” Loving and compassionate relations with our brothers and sisters reflect and reveal our relationship with the Father. Jesus sternly warns us that we cannot confide in God’s forgiveness unless we show mercy to our brothers and sisters.
Lent is that special time when we are called to live our prayer and to pray with our whole life. May our Mother Mary obtain for us the Spirit of Her Son that bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God and cries out in our heart “Abba,” “Father!”