The Gospel according to 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.”
One of the important themes for Lent is that of forgiveness. We take these forty days to look at ways that we have drifted away from the path that God has laid before us, and to ask Him to show us how to get back on course, and to love better.
The trick is to find the balance between feeling even more unworthy, due to our sins, and feeling loved, which we are, always. That’s something that I’m still coming to understand about Lent. You will hear folks say that Lent is actually a joyful season, and in my mind, I’m saying, “are you kidding? Lent is a sacrificial season!” But, it is true. The joy in Lent is the knowledge that our Lord is still there, always, ready to forgive us, ready to take us back.
The Our Father is not so much a prayer that we just recite in some mindless fashion, as it is a statement of promise of how we want to live our lives as followers of Jesus. We recognize God as our Father, our holy King, whose Kingdom we seek to bring present today. We ask Him to meet our needs, and then we ask that He extend that forgiveness to us, provided that we do the same to our brothers and sisters. Oh, that today, we would take that to heart! May we do our best today to be loving and forgiving, even and especially to those who are most difficult to forgive.
And, take heart! If we fail in that mission of forgiveness today, let us ask our Lord to help us to do better tomorrow, and trust that He will help us to do just that. If we make that our prayer today and every day in Lent, we will truly be ready to celebrate Easter Joy when Lent is over.
Action for the Day:
Pause today and ask God for the grace to forgive, and see how you do with forgiveness today. And, as I said a bit ago, if you fall short, just ask God to help you to do better tomorrow.
If you would like to hear this reflection, click the link below!