1st Week of Lent, Tuesday, Feb 23
Isaiah 55:10-11 / Matthew 6:7-15
Jesus teaches about prayer; "This is how you are to pray. "
Two men were arguing about religion. As the argument heated up, the one man shouted at the other, "I'll bet five bucks you don't even know the Lord's Prayer." "I'll take that bet," the other shouted.Then he began praying, "Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take."
The other man looked at him in amazement and said, "I'll be darned! You win! I didn't think you knew it."
Sometimes we might just as well be praying "Now I lay me down to sleep" as praying the Lord's Prayer. For we pray it without really thinking about what we are saying.
How attentively do we pray the Lord's Prayer? "In praying, do not babble like the pagans." Matthew 6.7
God speaks his word to people in many ways: first of all, his word-in-action, that is, his saving deeds; his words written down in the Bible again, more the language of action than of words; the words he speaks through other people, through prophets past and present, through human encounters. Above all, God speaks his living Word, Jesus Christ.
God’s word can be heard only and find resonance when it takes on flesh and blood – when it becomes incarnate – in the lives of people and vibrates with human thought and feeling. If so, one can respond to it with prayerful words of recognition and with the living prayer of deeds. Prayer is our echo to God’s word and so are our deeds.
In this eucharistic celebration God speaks his word to us in the readings and he gives us his living Word in the eucharistic bread.
often, it seems to us that the forces of evil are victorious and even
overwhelming. Men of violence assert their power and might over innocent people
and even kill them. It seems that justice is slow in coming, if ever at all. The
movie industry will take advantage of this fact by churning out all those kinds
of "pay-back" movies. Justice is done only in reaching out for the
gun. But it is only confined to the reel-world of the movies.
So where is justice? Is there any justice? Yet we know that there is justice. At least, we will remember Jesus saying this: He who draws the sword will also die by the sword. Yet, Jesus also did say : Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who treat you badly. Those are profound of truth, profound words of life, words which, as the 1st reading puts it, does not return to the Lord empty without carrying out His will and succeeding in what it was sent to do.
We can only understand what justice is when we know what the truth is about. In the gospel, Jesus taught us a prayer. It is a prayer of truth. It is a prayer for justice. When we pray the Lord's prayer, we are also praying that the truth of God will bear fruits of love in our lives so that we will work for justice in the world. Truth goes before justice. Because there can never be justice without truth.
Lord God, you speak your mighty word to us, but we cannot hear it unless it stirs our lives and is spoken in human terms. Keep speaking your word to us, Lord, and open our hearts to it, that it may bear fruit in us when we do your will and carry out what we are sent to do. We ask you this through your living Word, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen