Thursday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time [II]
Sirach 48:1-14 + Matthew 6:7-15
June 18, 2020
“Our Father who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name.”
Putting the Gospel passages from recent weekday Masses in context, we see the person of God the Father emerge. These passages come from the Sermon on the Mount. Two days ago the Church proclaimed the last section of Matthew 5, the last phrase of which is Jesus’ command to “be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Yesterday’s Gospel passage concerned the performance of “righteous deeds”, for which God the “Father who sees in secret will repay you.”
In today’s Gospel passage this theme comes to a head with Jesus teaching His Church to pray the “Our Father”. This is the only “recited prayer” (or as this type is sometimes called, “vocal prayer”) that Jesus gave to the Church.
Many saints have commented on the “Our Father” by pointing out that Jesus had no need to teach any other prayer, because this prayer contains all that one might need or want to say to the Father, at least in seminal form. Other prayers are commended to us by the Church because they draw out further the phrases of the “Our Father”. We who are slow and weak to believe benefit from other vocal prayers, but they must finally lead us back to the embrace of God the Father.