Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Our Father – Spiritual Heart of Piety (June 17- Mt 6: 7-15)

  1. There are three ‘you’ petitions and three ‘we’ petitions in this Matthean version of our Lord’s Prayer. Among the three ‘you’ petitions the central petition is “ May your kingdom come” which expresses hopes in the coming of God’s kingdom – all creatures will declare the holiness of God!
  2. The three we petitions presupposes eschatological expectation a. Sustenance for the day (heavenly banquet), b. Forgiveness of sins (involves judgment) c. Divine protection in eschatological testing (dangerous struggle with Satan).
  3. This prayer is considered the shortened version of Eighteen Benediction of Jews which consists of 3 introductory praises, 12 petitions for personal and communal needs and 3 concluding praises.
  4. The specific words which Jesus used are not any more sacred than request we might make expressing the same kids of desires to the Father; we should seek to learn to pray like Jesus not merely what Jesus prayed.
  5. The pattern of meaningful prayer is to begin by majority on the person and nature of God and His kingdom interests, coming to the personal requests and needs only secondarily.
  • Our Father : Should be prayed in fellowship with other believers (Communitarian)

  • Hallowed be thy name: ‘Hallowed’ means to sanctify - make holy; we should come before God with an attitude of reverence for God’s perfection.

  • Your kingdom come thy will be done: God’s kingdom is not completely fulfilled on the earth – therefore the task of spreading of God’s kingdom around the world is given to the Church and the kingdom servants.

  • On Earth as in Heaven: There is no sin and rebellion in heaven; hindrances are present only on earth.

  • Give us today our daily bread: During Jesus’ time most of the people lived ‘hand to mouth existence! This phrase befits all the lowly and the marginalized.

  • Forgive us our debts: One does not gain forgiveness by forgiving but a person evidences his or her own forgiveness by forgiving others.

  • Lead us not into Temptation: Forgiveness is curative spiritual medicine and this request is the preventive medicine {Preventive system of Don Bosco}- we should pray regularly for specific spiritual dangers of which we are aware.

We pray this prayer number of times without realizing it is the compendium of all the types of prayers like prayer of praise and thanksgiving, prayer of petition and prayer of penance! These are not the empty phrases but phrases that gives an orientation to all our lives.


Sacra Pagina Series

Holman New Testament Commentaries

Introduction to New Testament – Raymond Brown