Jesus invites us into an intimate relationship with the Father

JULY 28, 2019 SEVENTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME (Lec. 111) 

1)         Genesis 18:20-32

2)         Colossians 2:12-14

3)         Luke 11:1-13

Gospel related: CCC 443, 520, 728, 1425, 2601, 2613, 2623, 2632, 2671, 2759, 2761, 2773, 2845 CSDC 453

We live in a world where the internet has become an essential communication method. Friends and family members no longer have to wait days or weeks to receive a letter; communication is almost instant. Although the ease and speed of internet messaging is a blessing, it may also reduce the intimacy and sensitivity that generally comes with face-to-face conversations, making it easier to be less tactful in our internet dialogue.

 

When Jesus teaches his disciples to pray, he is giving them something much more than a speedier form of communication. He is providing them with an intimate way to communicate with God, and he spells out the expectations that come with this new way of relating with God. Consider for a moment the words Jesus suggests we use when we pray. 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.

In these few words, Jesus is teaching his disciples, and all future generations who make this prayer, that God is our Father, who loves us as a parent and seeks an intimate relationship with us. Whereas past generations relied on patriarchs and prophets to speak on our behalf, through Jesus we discover that we can communicate directly with God.

Even though we are sinners, we, too, can presume to speak to God. Even though we may have done dreadful and terrible things, God continues to love us, forgive us and draw us closer.

But the Lord’s Prayer also reminds us: If we are children of God who have experienced the Lord’s forgiveness, we are expected to forgive everyone in debt to us. This call to forgive is challenging. It begins with simple acts of kindness and a desire to forgive our neighbor when they have offended us.

Our resolve to live the Lord’s Prayer will be tested, but the same Jesus who taught us how to pray also gave us the Eucharist, his body and blood, so that we are nourished and strengthened for the daily challenges we will face.