Today’s gospel presents us with Luke’s version of the Lord’s Prayer. It is a little bit different from Matthew’s version. Matthew’s version is a part of The Sermon on the Mount. Luke’s is Jesus’ response to the disciples request for Him to teach them to pray. Matthew’s is slightly longer than Luke’s yet both are basically the same. It is a prayer of praise (hallowed be Thy Name); of recognition of God’s sovereignty (Your Kingdom come). It is a prayer of petition for our needs (give us this day our daily bread) and it is a prayer requesting forgiveness (forgive us our sins) and lastly a plea for deliverance (safety from despair). It is called The Lord’s Prayer since it was given to us by the Lord Jesus and it has been called the perfect Christian Prayer.
The Lord’s Prayer was no doubt one of the first prayers we learned as children and it is prayed each time Eucharist is celebrated. It is also a prayed when the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation are administered and it is a part of Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer of the Divine Office. The Lord’s Prayer is often prayed at meetings and gatherings of Christians and whenever the Rosary is prayed. In many ways, one can say that it is the universal Christian Prayer.
Like with anything that is familiar, it sometimes becomes a matter of being taken for granted; I know that is the case with me sometimes. Yet, when we encounter the Scriptures wherein the Lord’s Prayer is proclaimed, it is a good time to stop and pay attention to what we are saying. Frederick Buechner, an ordained Presbyterian Minister has this to say about the Our Father. In the first half of the prayer we ask God to be God – holy and omnipotent – hallowed; Thy Kingdom Come; Thy Will be done. In the second half of the prayer we ask: “Give us; Forgive us; Don’t test us and Deliver us.” In the first half we proclaim God’s omnipotence; in the second half we proclaim our impotence. Reverend Buechner says that ‘we can do nothing without God. We can have nothing without God. Without God, we are nothing.” He goes on to say: “It is only the words ‘Our Father’ that makes the prayer bearable. If God is indeed something like a father, then as something like children maybe we can risk approaching Him.”
Yes, Father in Heaven, hallowed be Thy Name and bless us your children.
…..Brother Gus Parlavechio, C.P.