Gospel MT 6:7-15
Jesus said to his disciples:
“In praying, do not babble like the pagans,
who think that they will be heard because of their many words.
Do not be like them.
Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
“This is how you are to pray:
‘Our Father who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name,
thy Kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.’
“If you forgive others their transgressions,
your heavenly Father will forgive you.
But if you do not forgive others,
neither will your Father forgive your transgressions.”
A God Longing to Heal
An elderly woman recently sat with me to share her story. She nervously told of the horrific abuse from her past. Grasping the arm of the chair tightly, as if for strength, she revealed the painful consequences of such profound hurt. The woman had stayed away from Church and from God because she thought she needed to heal and save herself before God would finally love her.
This woman’s quest for self-salvation echoes within our lives as we hear today’s Gospel. Since God already knows our painful pasts, we may question the reason for prayer. However, we pray so as to move beyond any kingdom we may build for ourselves. We don’t save ourselves. We cannot fix our own brokenness and thereby earn God’s love. We pray listening to the gentleness of God who is unlike any earthly parent. Only Christ Jesus reveals forgiveness even in our unspoken stories.
Through every turmoil on earth, we bare the mystery of God’s Kingdom. God longs to heal the world, offering bread that will feed us today. Forgiving our trespasses is God’s initiative within our human nature. Then we shall muster tenderness to eventually forgive those who have abandoned us on earth. God’s invites us to rest in the Kingdom already on earth.
I witnessed within that elderly woman’s eyes a glowing mercy that refreshed itself over many later conversations. God provided such remedy within her through daily prayer. This may happen within each of us, where we learn to trust God in the food given us, the Eucharist for this day.
Fr. Ronald Raab
Ronald Patrick Raab, CSC, is pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Colorado Springs. Learn more at http://www.ronaldraab.com.