Memory of the Church

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Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

I am the good shepherd,
my sheep listen to my voice,
and they become
one flock and one fold.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Matthew 6, 7-15

'In your prayers do not babble as the gentiles do, for they think that by using many words they will make themselves heard.

Do not be like them; your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

So you should pray like this: Our Father in heaven, may your name be held holy,

your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.

And forgive us our debts, as we have forgiven those who are in debt to us.

And do not put us to the test, but save us from the Evil One.

'Yes, if you forgive others their failings, your heavenly Father will forgive you yours;

but if you do not forgive others, your Father will not forgive your failings either.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

I give you a new commandment,
that you love one another.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Jesus is speaking about prayer and urges the disciples not to waste words when they pray as the Gentiles do, thinking that they will be able to persuade God with a torrent of language. Jesus most likely refers to magic formulas used in exoteric rites, in which the formulas were more important than the attitude of the heart. Jesus wants his disciples to understand that the essence of prayer is putting our trust in God, confident that God will not abandon us and will give us what we need. Obviously Jesus can say this because he knows well the Father who is in heaven and knows how his heart is great and that everything comes from Him. He clarifies to the disciples: "" And at this point Jesus gives yesterday’s and today’s disciples the splendid prayer known as the "Our Father." An old wise Christian - Tertullian - said that this prayer is in a certain way "the synthesis of the entire Gospel." He is right. We see it well in the first word, " "Abba" (Dad). This is the term Jesus places on our lips to turn to the creator of heaven and earth. May be our smallness does not allow us to understand the complete turnaround that this word involves as it makes us "children" in the relationship with God. Yes, the Lord for us is, firstly, the Father. Certainly he is the creator of heaven and earth, the Absolute, the Almighty and much more. And yet, he is first of all "Father" and he loved us to the point of sending us his own Son. It is right to do God’s will and not ours, as we are always inclined to do. He is good with us much more than what we are able to be. Jesus also urges us to ask for bread, the bread of every day, so we might touch the concreteness of God’s love with our hands. He then puts a grave request on our lips: "Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors." It seems harsh and unrealistic to make human forgiveness the model ("as we also...") for divine forgiveness, but in the following verses, we find an explanation for this petition: "For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; but if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." This language is incomprehensible for a society like ours, in which forgiveness is truly rare, but perhaps this is why we need to learn how to pray the "Our Father." Thinking of the many temptation that life may present us, Jesus - and here the translation of the text is clearer than the traditional formula - makes us insist in asking: "Do not abandon us in temptation, but deliver us from evil." The Lord is truly a Father who is at our side. Sometimes even the dearest friends may abandon us, but this never happens with God.