Thursday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time
(II Corinthians 11:1-11; Matthew 6:7-15)
Several years ago a number of liturgists from different Christian traditions approved an alternative translation of the Lord’s Prayer. There are no “thy’s” in the new version nor does it say of the Father “who art in heaven.” The experiment calls for “sins,” not “trespasses,” to be forgiven and prays to be saved from “the time of trial” rather than not to be led “into temptation.”
The purpose of the experiment, no doubt, is to enable Christians to be more conscious of what they are saying when praying this quintessential Christian prayer. As Jesus in today’s gospel criticizes pagans for babbling in prayer, some Christians mindlessly repeat the words of the “Our Father.”
The alternative version was to be approved by the various traditions. This could not have been easy as the traditional form is so embedded in people’s consciousness that asking people to change would bring about a reaction. Whether or not the wording of the “Our Father” is ever altered for general use, we should take care not to rattle off the prayer as if it were a password to access divine attention. Rather we should say its words with deliberation always contemplating what they mean.