A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew 6:7-15
Jesus said to his disciples: "In praying, do not babble like the pagans, who think that they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them. Your Father knows what you need before you ask him. "This is how you are to pray: 'Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.' "If you forgive others their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions." REFLECTION: This is how you are to pray: 'Our Father....
On December 7, 1988, the Armenian or Spitak earthquake killed 25000-50000 people. Since then there have been reports of a father digging through the rubble for 36 hours and finally finding his son and his classmates. This story appears in many christian devotionals but unclear if true since it is not verifiable. The father had made a promise to his son daily, " No matter what, I will always be there for you." When the father approached his son's school, he was devastated as it was flattened. But remembering the promise he made to his son, he dug and dug and found the son and the classmates. Most of the parents accepted the disastrous news but not this father. Would we look for our children if lost in the rubble, asking " Will anyone help me?"
God is a relentless father. He does not give up on us and He forever is reaching out to us. He wants to have intimate contact with us expressing our feelings as a son speaks with his father. He wants to love us and to share this love with our brothers and sisters as well as He wants to hear our needs. The Our Father is such a simple but powerful prayer, encompassing all we can say and ask of the Father. And in turn the Father gives us hope and consolation.
The Our Father was taught by Jesus Himself. Today, set aside all devotional books, formal prayers, chaplets, novenas and concentrate, pausing after each word, on the Our Father. Let us imitate Jesus praying the Our Father, letting our hearts and minds focus on God throughout the day.
May our priests contemplate the face of Christ with renewed love for the Eucharist as they pray the Our Father.