Tuesday of the First Week of Lent
(Isaiah 55:10-11; Matthew 6:7-15)
Most parents teach their children manners by withholding something that the children want until they utter the correct word. We all know the dialogue. “You want a piece of cake?” the parent tells the child, “Then what do you say?” When the child responds correctly and the cake is passed, the parent will finish the lesson: “Now what do you say?” It does not seem off the mark to say that Jesus gives his disciples a similar lesson in today’s gospel.
But before going to the gospel, we should note what the first reading proclaims. Isaiah assures us that every word proceeding from the mouth of God is efficacious. Therefore, we can trust not only what Jesus will tell us but also that the prayer he teaches will effect the requests it makes. Jesus says that we are to ask our Father in heaven to make manifest on earth his will. Further, he prepares us to participate in the manifestation by committing ourselves to forgive the wrongs others do to us.
But, then, why don’t we see the world at peace and ourselves free from the clutches of evil? Perhaps it is because we are too anxious. It is happening, however, although until the coming of Jesus the Kingdom of God on earth will always be in process. We can perhaps glimpse it as we become less spiteful when wronged and as nations decide to spend more on education and health and less on arms.