Wednesday 05 October 2022 – ABBA FATHER

27th Week in Ordinary Time

1st Reading: Gal 2:1-2, 7-14

Brothers and sisters: After fourteen years I again went up to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along also. I went up in accord with a revelation, and I presented to them the Gospel that I preach to the Gentiles– but privately to those of repute– so that I might not be running, or have run, in vain. On the contrary,  when they saw that I had been entrusted with the Gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter to the circumcised, for the one who worked in Peter for an apostolate to the circumcised worked also in me for the Gentiles, and when they recognized the grace bestowed upon me, James and Cephas and John, who were reputed to be pillars, gave me and Barnabas their right hands in partnership, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. Only, we were to be mindful of the poor, which is the very thing I was eager to do. And when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face because he clearly was wrong. For, until some people came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he began to draw back and separated himself, because he was afraid of the circumcised. And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him, with the result that even Barnabas was carried away by their hypocrisy. But when I saw that they were not on the right road in line with the truth of the Gospel, I said to Cephas in front of all, “If you, though a Jew, are living like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews?”

Gospel: Lk 11:1-4

Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples.” He said to them, “When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be your name, your Kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread and forgive us our sins for we ourselves forgive everyone in debt to us, and do not subject us to the final test.”    

ABBA FATHER: This is the privilege we have as Christians – to call God as ‘Abba’ ‘My beloved Father’. To call God as Father is a very daring act according to Bilquis Sheik, a Muslim convert to Christianity who wrote the book, “I Dared to Call him Father.” For a Christian it might be a most natural thing, but for a Muslim, despite the thousand attributes given to God, to call God ‘Father’ is unimaginable. When she discovered that she is really a child of God and she can have childlike freedom to address him ‘Father’, Bilquis Sheik was overwhelmed and wanted to tell it out to the whole world. This is the great revelation of Jesus: we have a Father-God; he is fatherly-motherly. Though the idea is in the Old Testament, Jesus reveals it as central to understanding God.  We can confidently call him ‘my dear Father’ and pray as his children.

Prayer: Abba Father, hear your children praying!   

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THE LORD OF GREAT DEEDS: From the first reading we see that the Lord is a God of great deeds. Furthermore, he is merciful to His people. When the people of Nineveh repented, God was merciful to them and did not carry out the punishment. Jonah became angry but God told him that Nineveh had many people who needed to be taught to know what is righteous. In the Gospel, Jesus teaches His disciples how to pray. He taught them a prayer that they will address God as ‘Father’. It is therefore evident that God is our Father and will be merciful to us. He is our provider and will always lead us away from evil as the Lord’s Prayer states. As Christians, we must know that God does mighty deeds in our lives and we must always let His will be done.

PRAYER: Lord, let me believe in you and see all the great things you have done in my life.

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GOD IS FATHER, WE ARE FAMILY: The key word in Jesus’ prayer is “Father.” It summarizes how he felt towards God and, at the same time, how Jesus understood his relations with other people. The way we pray shows who is God for us and how we relate with others. Praying like Jesus addressing God as “Father,” affirms that we are a family. God created as one family and wants to save us as one family. We are a family and we belong to one another because we all belong to the Father. God challenged Jonah reminding him that his love is universal; nobody is excluded from God’s love. Can we pray saying Father and not loving others as brothers and sisters? (cf. 1Jn 4: 20-21). The one who loves without boundaries, knows the Father and the Father lives in him. Those who pray calling ‘Father,’ should also have the sentiments of a family.