In the next DIGGING DEEPER, we take a closer look at the way that Jesus taught us to pray
And he said to them, "This is how you are to pray,…
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread; forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
And do not subject us to the final test, but deliver us from the evil one.
-(Matthew 6: 9-14)
Our Father - A Theological Look
From a presentation by Father William Maestri, Professor of Theology at St. Joseph's Seminary, Covington, LA.
"Our" is not yours or mine, but a plurality. It refers to a collective consciousness, a corporate (group, community) mentality. It begs to questions; one from the Hebrew Scriptures, and one from the Christian scriptures. Am I my brother's (sister's) keeper? Who is my neighbor? It's not what is owed to me, but what do I owe? It begs for us to think in terms of solidarity with humanity, all of humanity. And it calls for us to reject the concept of "what's in it for me?"
"Father" compels us to look in terms of relationship, not gender. Our God cannot be limited by gender. Jesus spoke in terms of "ABBA," (daddy in Hebrew). This compels us to look at the relationship between Father, Son, and Spirit. We must look at the Trinity as a "tri-unity" of one GOD. It must be felt, for us as oneness. It is a circle of relational love.
…who art in heaven
Here heaven refers to the HOPE of what is to come. It compels us to stop seeking "short term relief" (instant gratification), and work toward "long term fulfillment."
Holy is your name…
What is holiness? We are reminded here that we are created in the image and likeness of God. We are called to God's holy - ness. We are also reminded that God is holiness. God is that "otherness" (see Isaiah 6) that we seek to be with.
Thy kingdom come…
An understanding of the "kingdom" is central to Jesus' teaching. Jesus refers to the kingdom over 170 times throughout Scripture. "Kingdom" is not the noun that the Hebrews were expecting. It's not the destruction of Rome's earthly kingdom. It is the verb. It is the active reign (rule) of God over, and with God's people throughout all of history; past, present, and future. It is God's JUSTICE, and FREEDOM, and PEACE that God calls us to live for. We must be free for the kingdom, rather than freedom from earthly constraints.
…thy will be done on earth and in heaven.
There is no place where God's reign cannot be found. (see Psalm 139)
Give us today our daily bread.
When we say "give" we acknowledge our neediness. In a world that is constantly pushing us to self-reliance, and the attitude that we must always look out for number one, we can become blinded to GRATITUDE. Today life is looked on more as an achievement rather than the GIFT that it is. We must constantly remember that ,
Life is a gift, and you and me are gifted.
Bread refers to all our basic necessities, including the WORD of God.
And lead us not into temptation
The temptation here is not earthly things, but the temptation to give in. It is a temptation to lower our vision, to lower the vision that God has for us: the vision of how to live as one created in "the image and likeness."
Somewhere it was said, "Freedom is the power to do as we ought, and to change often is to be perfect." We must constantly resist the temptation to accept the mediocrity, and complacency that this world has to offer. As Jesus said, "we are in this world, but we are not of this world."
And deliver us from evil
Simply put, shelter us and protect us from that which will lead us away from You oh God.
AMEN - Now, and always!