TUESDAY, FIRST WEEK OF LENT
Is 55: 10-11; Ps 34: 4-7, 16-19; Mt 6: 7-15
JESUS TEACHES US TO PRAY IN THE RIGHT WAY
As we enter the first week of Lent, the liturgy reminds us of the importance of prayer as a tool of spiritual warfare during this season of grace. In the Gospel passage today we come face to face with Jesus, as he teaches his disciples the prayer ‘Our Father’. Jesus begins by exhorting his disciples on the right attitude in prayer. For Jesus, prayer is not heaping up of a multitude of empty words, but rather a process of attaining a right relationship with God who is our Father. It is love that matters and not words in our relationship with God. He goes on to remind also that God is ever mindful of us and thus it is not always necessary to remind him of our needs and predicaments.
‘Our Father’ is a profound Christian prayer. It is also simple and easy to remember, therefore, we end up praying many times during the course of a day. Often though we pray it habitually, running through it even without realizing it. If we are to be aware and attentive as we pray, then we could realize how beautiful this prayer is. Sadly, many of us lose sight of this great treasure. The prayer is communitarian in nature. Unlike the selfish and self-indulgent world in which we live, this prayer invites us to cultivate a fraternal bond with each other. It is a prayer that invites one to forget oneself, while always concentrating on God and the other. There is no place for self-glorification, or gratification, but rather for gifting oneself for the sake of others, which is reflected in the intercessory nature of the prayer. That is why we are taught to say ‘Our Father’ by Jesus and not ‘my father’. And everything we desire and ask of in Our Father is always for all of us and not my individual needs and aspirations. We call God Father without realizing that we are not even worthy to be his children. The word ‘abba’ which means Father, in Hebrew is a loving address of a grown-up adult, to one’s father, recognizing a loving relationship between them.
Response: The Lord rescues them in all their distress.
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