Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he had finished,
one of his disciples said to him,
“Lord, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples.” (Lk 11:1)
There is a big part of our human nature that drives us to want to belong. We want to belong to groups — God forbid we be left out. We want to belong in school, in our places of work, in any organization that we join.
We see a lot of that happening in today’s Gospel.
Jesus’ disciples were aware of the fact that Jesus, unlike many of the other rabbis, had not yet taught them how He wanted them to pray.
They wanted to make sure that they get it right.
So, they asked Him.
And He gave them the “Our Father.”
That wonderful prayer has been a part of our lives ever since we learn to pray.
Our first prayers that we learn are the Sign of the Cross, the Our Father, and the Hail Mary.
There is something important about that prayer, though.
It is not merely a collection of words that, once said, makes someone a “member” of the group.
It is a prayer designed to focus us on what is important and to remind us of how we are supposed to live.
We acknowledge God as our Father and that His name, alone, is holy. We petition for His Kingdom to come, His will to be done even here on earth. In order to do that, we must be willing to give up the search for our own little kingdoms and we must be ready to embrace God’s will.
We ask God to give us what we need.
And then, we ask God to forgive us our sins. However, we ask God to forgive us according to the manner in which we forgive others, “as we forgive those who trespass against us.” In other words, if we do not forgive, we cannot expect or hope for forgiveness — from others, or from God.
I wonder how many people think about the implications of those words.
We then finish with a petition to help us to break free from temptation and from evil.
If we not only say that prayer but we also live that prayer, we will do more than “belong”. We will be well on our way to the Kingdom of God!
FAITH ACTION: Slowly, reverently, and methodically say the Our Father to yourself. Do more than rattle out the words. Think about each of the words or phrases.