Thursday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time
(Sirach 48:1-14; Matthew 6:7-15)
Somethings become simpler as we become older. As children, we thought tying a shoelace was a real accomplishment. As grow ups, we do not give it a second thought. Other things, however, become more profound as we age. The Our Father is one instance of this. As children, we learned to rattle it off like a nursery rhyme. As adults thinking about its meaning, the Our Father reaches the depth of our being.
The very first words, “Our Father,” unite us with Christians throughout the world. We are sisters and brothers to Africans, Asians, and Native Americans to name just a few. “Thy Kingdom come” is a plea for the end of the world when we will be judged for our deeds. “Forgive us … as we forgive …” commits us to letting go of all grudges despite the pain others have caused. Each of the seven petitions made in the Our Father challenges us to change our lives. This takes effort since we become comfortable even with things that grieve us.
In teaching the Our Father, Jesus directed our prayer away from childish wants to eternal longings. There is no petition that our football teams wins or that we ace a test. No, we ask that God’s name be honored by everyone so that there may be peace. And we request that our trials be not so burdensome that we fall beneath them into sin. We learn the Our Father as children so that we never forget how to pray it as adults.