RELYING ON THE PRAYER THAT CAME FROM THE MOUTH OF GOD
First Reading: Isaiah 55:10-11
Responsorial Psalm: 33(34):4-7,16-19
Gospel Reading: Matthew 6:7-15
Our goal in this Lenten season is to grow in communion and intimacy with the Lord – journeying in the desert of Lent with our Lord in the observance of His own Lent, which was His 40 days in the desert. In other words, as we integrate the spiritual with the physical through fasting and abstinence in this “Lenten wilderness,” there is a need to rely on “every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4) in building a strong foundation of prayer as today’s readings present to us.
First, the Word of God is something “alive and active” (Heb. 4:12); it is a creative and transformative Word. To the people who had been in exile for such a long time, Isaiah told them that God was going to bring about their return. At first, they saw no evidence of it, but Isaiah says it with firmness, calling them to rely on God’s Word as we see in today’s first reading: “Thus says the Lord: ‘As the rain and the snow come down from the heavens and do not return without watering the earth, making it yield and giving growth to provide seed for the sower and bread for the eating, so the word that goes from my mouth does not return to me empty, without carrying out my will and succeeding in what it was sent to do.’” This clearly illustrates the powerful and catalytic effect of the Word of God; a Word that is capable of enlightening and transforming us into better Christians without undergoing a change in Itself.
This Word of God (as St. John tells us) “became flesh and dwelt among us” (Jn. 1:14) in the person of Our Lord Jesus Christ. And in today’s gospel reading, Our Lord Jesus Christ calls us to trust in His own Words (The Lord’s Prayer), which should serve as a backdrop for our prayer life in this season of Lent. The Catechism tells us that the Our Father is at the centre of the Scriptures, and is the prayer of the Church. It says, “The Lord’s Prayer ‘is truly the summary of the whole gospel.’ Since the Lord … after handing over the practice of prayer, said elsewhere, ‘Ask and you will receive,’ and since everyone has petitions which are peculiar to his circumstances, the regular and appropriate prayer [the Lord’s Prayer] is said first, as the foundation of further desires” (CCC #2761). Our Lord gave us the “Our Father” to teach us to know what we need in order to live as sons and daughters of God. It shares with us the “Good News” that we are children of God by adoption, which is the message of the Gospel.
Coming from the mouth of God, the Lord’s Prayer has the power to transform us, break our pride, selfishness, vanities, and change our mentality. Left to ourselves, we tend to pray the way we want and for what we want; in fact, we babble as the pagans do by using many words, for “we do not know how to pray as we ought” (Rom. 8:26), but through the Lord’s Prayer, we come to a deeper reverence and appreciation of who God is to us, what He is capable of doing for us, and the importance of His will in our lives.
As we journey through this season of Lent, may we always trust in the efficacy of this prayer that came from the mouth of God (Our Father), so that when we pray, the good Lord would hear us and rescue us from all our distresses and afflictions as today’s psalmist demonstrates to us.
© Fr. Chinaka Justin Mbaeri, OSJ
Paroquia Nossa Senhora de Fatima, Vila Sabrina, São Paulo, Brazil
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PS: Have you prayed your Rosary today?