The word of God is a two-edged sword. When god speaks and utters the word, it goes forth and brings about what God wills. God waters us with the word. God nurtures us with the word. God’s ultimate word to us is the Word made flesh. Jesus speaks to us of the mercy, justice and compassion of the Creator. The word was with God from the beginning and will bring about God’s promises and fulfill them. (Is 55: 10-11) In the beginning was the Word. The Word, Wisdom, danced at the creation of the universe.Jesus instructs us on prayer (Mt 6: 7-15). He has already this Lent told us to go into our cellars and close the door when we pray. This is the prayer of contemplation when we quiet ourselves and rest in God. Sitting in God’s presence is in and of itself prayer. God who dwells in us as our deepest reality know us and cares for us and gives us what we need even before we ask for it.
What is said here applies to vocal prayer. Jesus reminds us not to babble and multiply words when we pray. Repetitive vocal prayer has its place; however, the mere multiplication of words is not what Abba God wants. God already knows what we need before we know that we need it.
The simple straight forward petitions in the Our Father are all we need. First, we give glory to God—hallowed be your name. All glory to the Creator. We are grateful for creation and the gift of life. Blessed be God.
We ask for God’s word to come forth and achieve God’s purpose, God’s will. Jesus announced and proclaimed the arrival of the Kin-dom. God is here now and at work in our lives, our world, our history.
We ask for food and nourishment. We do not need to ask for abundance. God will provide our food each day, including the nourishment of the Eucharist. Forgive us our debts reminds us of jubilee. Everything is gift from God. Earthly goods are not to be amassed in silos. They are to be shared by all. God gave the Israelites manna in the desert. It was food for the day. If they collected too much and hoarded it, it spoiled.
Thus we forgive debts and debtors. We readily forgive those who owe us. We ask God to lead us and guide us so that the powers and principalities do not overwhelm us and lead us astray. Jesus proclaims a Jubilee Year in his proclamation in Luke 4. Land, the only real commodity for the people, will be returned to its rightful owners.
Finally, Jesus reminds us that forgiveness of those who offend us is required of us. We forgive because much has been forgiven us. Forgiveness is a process and may take time but we have to be willing to work through the stages and let go. Jesus modeled forgiveness for us in his final moments on the cross. “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” We can do no less than he did. Forgiveness goes beyond friends and reaches out toward enemies.
Let us pray as Jesus taught us to pray. Let us take time to pray. Let us remember to stand aside and rest in God’s loving presence. We need to be present to Presence.