The first part of the Gospel reminds us that long prayers are not necessary, for the Father already knows what we need. What matters more is the spirit, the sincerity, or the purity of heart by which we pray. The Our Father that Jesus teaches is our model of how we ought to pray. It is not wordy, it is straightforward, and it expresses our most important needs. At the same time, it teaches us to approach God as our “Father,” as a parent, as our Provider and our Protector.
Jesus underlines the need to have forgiven (Greek aphēkamen—aorist or past tense) others before we can ask forgiveness from God. We not only mumble words but mean what we say by living them out first. Our ability to forgive marks us as the Father’s children.
How do we pray? Do we focus on the length or on the sincerity, the purity of our intentions? Do we find it hard to forgive?
Gospel • MATTHEW 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 men their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you do not forgive men, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions.”
SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord 2019,” ST. PAULS, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 632-895-9701; Fax 632-895-7328; E-mail: [email protected]; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.