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Father Muench Says...

Reflecting on the Lord’s Prayer

March 16, 2022

By Father William Muench
NCC columnist

One of the many ceremonies of the RCIA during Lent that prepares the Catechumens for Baptism at Easter is the presentation of the Lord’s Prayer. The Lord’s Prayer is for all Christians our most perfect prayer and it was taught to us by Jesus, the Lord himself. So, this is a rather special ceremony – the giving of this prayer to those to be baptized.

In Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus begins his teaching about prayer with his apostles by telling them that prayer is not about how many words. He says, “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.” Then Jesus teaches them the Lord’s Prayer, his gift to Christians of all time.

The Lord’s Prayer is so useful for me personally – a real gift from the Lord. So many times, when I am with a group of people and want them to join with me in prayer, I am certain all know the Lord’s Prayer. It could be a family standing around the sick bed of a loved one. It could be a group at a cemetery around the grave of a deceased loved one. The Lord’s Prayer quickly unites us together. And I am certain you all know that our Mass uses the Lord’s Prayer to prepare us for Holy Communion.

So, today, I would like to meditate with you about the Lord’s Prayer. I know I have written about the Lord’s Prayer often. I think of it often. When I need a prayer, I usually turn again and again to the Lord’s Prayer.

The Lord’s Prayer puts together the message of Jesus so perfectly. Jesus tells us that when we begin to pray to Our God, we remember that God is our Father. We begin “Our Father.” The people at the time of Jesus did not think of God as Father. For them, God was the God of Moses. God was the God on Mount Sinai who gave the commandments. This was the God who demanded obedience. This was the God that came in thunder and lightning, the God that brought fear. Jesus teaches us to think of God as Our Father, the God of love, the God who is Father.

God’s name is to be made holy and special for us. We are called by Jesus to make our lives as followers of the Lord by being part of the Kingdom of God. This is to be our place on this earth. Our dedication to the Lord Jesus is for us to live according to the “will of God.” “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

Next, we ask God our Father to give us our daily bread, our food to nourish our body and the Eucharistic food to strengthen our soul and spiritual life.

Then Jesus remembers to emphasize the importance of forgiveness. One of the essential characteristics of the Christian life is seeking to encounter Christ’s loving mercy. We can really experience it only when we put it into practice ourselves. We grasp the true meaning of mercy when we forgive others. If Christ has forgiven us, how can we not forgive others? Do you treat others as you think they deserve to be treated? Do you treat others with mercy, love and kindness?

And then to close our prayer we beg out God to deliver us from all evil. Amen. Each time I say the Lord’s Prayer I say so much to my God. I truly make such important agreements with the God who is my Father.

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