Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Our Father

Sometimes, when I am praying, or during mass, when everyone is praying the Lord's prayer, I take the words for granted. In the Gospel, today, we see the origin of a pray that forms the foundation for what we believe. However, it is interesting to see that there are significant differences in the Our Father that is spoken in the Gospel today and the form that is recited every week at mass. The form that is familiar to most people is the version from Matthew 6: 9-13. In comparison, the version in Luke 11: 2-4 is very basic and not as long. However, after further observation, both versions of the pray cover all the same topics and ideas.

Luke's version starts with the title Father, which is chosen by Jesus to illustrate the loving, longing, caring qualities of a Father. It is also agreed that Jesus most likely used the term Abba, which is translated from Aramaic to mean Daddy, a friendly, family style version of Father. Next, Jesus calls us to keep the name of God holy. However, name can be a substitute for one's self, so Jesus is essentially calling us to keep God holy in our lives.Then, Jesus exclaims that the kingdom is here  in you and me but it will come fully and completely when Jesus returns to earth to reign over all as King and Lord. 

The next part is the first petition for our own needs in the prayer, asking God to meet our everyday needs. Thus, we must remember to thank God for everything that is provided for us because, personally, I know that I take many of these blessings for granted. 

The final verse of this Gospel reading starts out with a petition that requires the recognition of the need for forgiveness. This is not just forgiveness that we receive once in our lives, but it is continual forgiveness. On the other hand, forgiveness is not simply something that is to be received, but it must also be offered by us to others. Forgiving others does not equate to being forgiven for something that we have done wrong, but, at the same time, unforgiveness can block God's grace. The final phrase of the prayer reminds us that God does truly guide our steps, and that we are able to call upon the Father for strength when we are tempted.

It seems as though the main message in today's Gospel is twofold. First, a prayer does not have to be fancy or long-winded. God wants to talk to us like we would talk to each other. If we have a need or want to thank Him, it does not have to be long and formal. Second, the Lord's Prayer is packed with meaning in its words. Every single passage has its own message. Next time, when you are praying the Lord's prayer in mass or on your own, think about the words and what they mean to you. 


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