Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Wednesday of the Twenty-seventh Week in Ordinary Time

(Galatians 2:1-2.7-14; Luke 11:1-4)

Shosaku Endo was a Japanese Catholic novelist. In his greatest work, The Silence, he wrote of a Jesuit priest laboring in the Japanese missions when Christians were being persecuted. The priest is betrayed to the authorities and told that if he apostatizes, many humble Japanese Christians would be liberated from ruthless torture. The priest agonizes over the decision. In the gospel today Jesus shows his disciples how they must pray to be delivered from such situations.

The Our Father is the apex of Christian prayer even though it does not mention Christ. Rather, it takes its place of priority because it is Jesus’ own prayer. That is, it is not only the one Jesus taught to his disciples, but also evidently the one he echoed in Gethsemane. “Father,” he will say on that occasion, “…not my will but yours be done.” At the same time he will tell his disciples, “Pray that you may not undergo the test.” (cf. Luke 22:40b,42b) The test, of course, refers to the situation of suffering grave persecution for the faith.

Gratefully, most Christians today are not “subject…to the final test” as Jesus exhorts his disciples to pray. But we are, all the time, confronted with temptation, as the more familiar rendition of the prayer has it. Internet pornography is one such temptation. Lying to escape a banal censure is another. In the Our Father we ask God to deliver us from these situations as well.