1st Week of Lent
1st Reading: Is 55:10-11
Thus says the Lord: Just as from the heavens the rain and snow come down and do not return there till they have watered the earth, making it fertile and fruitful, giving seed to the one who sows and bread to the one who eats, so shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; It shall not return to me void, but shall do my will, achieving the end for which I sent it.
Gospel: Mt 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.”
CAN WE TRULY CALL GOD, ‘FATHER’? A beggar came asking for food. I let him in through the back door and asked him to sit on the floor. I went to bring the “left over” food. Then I told him, Let’s pray, repeat after me, “Our FATHER in Heaven”, he said, “Your FATHER in Heaven”. I said, “NO, repeat what I say”. I said, “Our FATHER in Heaven”. He said again, “Your FATHER in Heaven” This irritated me! I asked him, “Why do you say, “YOUR Father, instead of “OUR Father”? He replied, “Sir, If I say “OUR FATHER” then we both become “Brothers”. If we are brothers, you would have invited me in through the “front door and not the back door”. You would have asked me to “sit at your dining table not on the floor”, you would have “not given me stale food” Sir, it’s not possible that we are sons of the same Father”! He may be “YOUR Father” but He can’t be “OUR FATHER”.
PRAYER: Lord, help me to treat others as my brothers and sisters. Amen.
The way to God: The powerful Word of God is life to each one of us. This is the Word that Jesus proclaims when he teaches us how to pray. Do not babble for “Your Father knows what you need before you ask him”. Prayer is not pressing God. The first question is, Am I in a position to call God My and Our Father? Strained relationships, grudges and bitterness towards my brothers, reduces my ability to call God My and Our Father. God is merciful and all loving to all, that is why He is Our Father. We worship this Father alone and adhere to His Will. In order to forgive us our sins, he desires that we too forgive others. When we do this we shall not have a deaf ear to the needs of others, and to their cries. The first step towards conversion is asking for forgiveness from God and from our neighbours.
Prayer: God, in our weakness and ignorance, may Your spirit help us to pray
MAKE GOD A FRIEND: African culture has great respect for its elders, which reflected also in the respect believers have for their priests. In many communities in Kenya, the priest is called an “elder” and many a time installed as such during ordination. Would a faithful having dropped a bunch of keys freely ask the priest to pick it up for him? Certainly not. It would be disrespectful they say. But the same faithful will ask the friend to pick the keys and hand them over to him, not because he does not respect the friend, but because the friend is a friend. Our relationship with God has been ruined by formalism which borders on irrational fear. We have failed to develop a personalized relationship with God. We do not look at God as a friend closest to us, and so are afraid to call out to him when in need. Christ calls upon his disciples to grow in a filial relationship with God. To establish the confidence to call God “Abba – Father”. They are called to look at God in the same way little children are not bothered by the greatness of their fathers and simply look at them as “the fathers they are supposed to be”. This filial trust is necessary for faith. When you trust God as a friend, then you will have faith in his word.