Tuesday of the First Week of Lent
Reading 1 Is 55:10-11
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.
Responsorial Psalm PS 34:4-5, 6-7, 16-17, 18-19
Glorify the LORD with me,
let us together extol his name.
I sought the LORD, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.
R. From all their distress God rescues the just.
Look to him that you may be radiant with joy,
and your faces may not blush with shame.
When the poor one called out, the LORD heard,
and from all his distress he saved him.
R. From all their distress God rescues the just.
The LORD has eyes for the just,
and ears for their cry.
The LORD confronts the evildoers,
to destroy remembrance of them from the earth.
R. From all their distress God rescues the just.
When the just cry out, the LORD hears them,
and from all their distress he rescues them.
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted;
and those who are crushed in spirit he saves.
R. From all their distress God rescues the just.
Verse Before the Gospel Mt 4:4b
One does not live on bread alone,
but on every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.
Gospel Mt 6:7-15
“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.”
Commentary on Matthew 6:7-15 from Living Space
Jesus tells us here not to babble endless prayers as if somehow by so doing we can bring God round to our way of thinking. (Read Elijah and the priests of Baal: 1 Kings 18:25-29.) Some religious groups, too, would keep calling their god by all his different names, hoping that by hitting on the right one he would listen. There is no need to do this because God knows our needs before we ask. Why then do we need to pray at all? The praying is not for God’s sake but for our own. It is important for us to become deeply aware of our needs and of our basic helplessness and total dependence on God. We also need to learn just what God wants of us so that we can do what he wants.
And that is what the Lord’s Prayer is about. Strictly speaking, it is not a prayer to be recited. It is a way of praying; it is a list of the things we need to pray about. And it is less our telling God what we want him to do than making ourselves aware of the ways by which we can become more united with him. It is a very challenging and, in a way, a very dangerous and daring prayer to make. So,
Our Father: God is the source of all our life and all we have and are. We say ‘our’ and that ‘our’ includes every single person. And, if God is the Father/Mother of every single person then each one of them, without even one exception, is my brother or sister.
Holy be your name,
Your Kingdom come,
Your will be done on earth as in heaven: The three petitions are really saying the same thing. Obviously, in one sense we cannot make God’s name more holy than it is. But we do need to respect that awesome holiness and that is more for our sake than God’s. The petition can also be a petition that God make his name holy by showing his glory, in this case by bringing about the Kingdom in its fullness.
We want God to be loved and respected and worshipped by all – not in some future life but here and now, on earth. We want the loving and compassionate Reign of God to be fully accepted by people everywhere as part of their lives, individually and corporately. We want God’s will for this world to be also the will of people everywhere.
Clearly, all this has to begin with ourselves. The coming of the Kingdom is not just the work of God alone; it is the result of us cooperating with him in the work. What am I doing in my life now for the realisation of that Kingdom?
Give us this day our daily bread: A prayer that our needs be satisfied for today. A prayer that rules out excessive anxiety about the future. But how are those needs to be satisfied? Do we expect manna to drop from the skies? And what about that little word ‘our’ again? Does it just mean me, my family, our community, our town, our country – or much more? Is this not a prayer that we all work together to ensure that no one goes hungry? Yet we know that millions do go to bed hungry every night and even more suffer from an unhealthy diet. And most of it is the result of human behaviour and neglect. This prayer reminds us that changing that situation is the responsibility of all of us. Another dangerous prayer.
Forgive us our debts, as we have forgiven those who are in debt to us: This is another dangerous thing to pray for. I really should not say it unless I am ready. And, if I am not ready, I need to pray hard for a forgiving heart. This is the only petition which is spelled out more clearly at the end of this passage. “If you do not forgive others, your Father will not forgive your failings either.” (cf. Matt 18:21-35, about the unforgiving servant.)
Do not put us to the test, but save us from the evil one: A final plea that we will not fail but that God’s help will be with us all the way. It is an admission of our basic impotence to set things right in our own lives and in the world. Given the challenges of the rest of the prayer, we need all the help we can get.
If this prayer were to really enter our heart and minds, we would become deeply transformed people. So let us stop babbling it as we often do and really pray it, phrase by phrase – and live it.
THE MYSTICAL DIMENSION OF THE LENTEN PROGRAM
SCRIPTURE READINGS: ISA 55:10-11; MT 6:7-15
The readings in the first four days of Lent after Ash Wednesday throws up the main themes and focus of the Lenten program, namely, the Lenten program, the theme of new life, fasting and repentance. Yesterday, the gospel picked up the theme of almsgiving, which is one of the pillars of the Lenten program. But fasting and almsgiving, which we dealt with in the readings on the Friday after Ash Wednesday, are concerned with the ascetical dimension of the Lenten program. Today, the liturgy directs us to the mystical aspect of the Lenten orientation. This is because a strong spiritual and prayer life is indispensable for genuine conversion, which is intrinsic to the renewal of our baptismal commitments.
For this goal to be experienced and lived, the liturgy gives us the basic elements of an effective spiritual and prayer life. An authentic prayer life involves three elements, namely, listening to the Word of God attentively, praying with the mind and heart of Jesus, and removing all sins and obstacles in our lives by forgiving and seeking forgiveness. It must be noted that these three elements of spiritual life are intimately linked with each other that one cannot stand without the other. They are mutually complementary to each other.
In the first place, there is no way to listen to the Word of God in an efficacious manner unless there is sincerity in seeking forgiveness in our hearts and the readiness to forgive others. If our heart is full of resentment and bitterness and sin, we will not be open sufficiently to hear His Word because we fear that we might have to change and the Word would be too hard for us to accept. So instead of accepting the Word of God in its full value, we try to rationalize and water down the truths presented to us by the Word. We then deceive ourselves by reading the Word of God in such a way as to soothe our conscience but with no real intention to convert. We avoid the difficult passages or try to explain them away so that the Word of God can fit into our lifestyles rather than we fit into the lifestyle offered to us by Jesus. By manipulating the text to suit our convenience, we cannot expect any real reception to the new life given to us by Christ. For this reason, forgiveness, which also implies the desire to remove all obstacles of sin, lies primarily in listening to the Word of God in its entirety without compromise.
However, even if we have heard the Word in its full meaning without any defenses and taken the Word of God as truth, it is still not effective unless we pray what we have heard. If not, what we reflect on will remain in our heads and forgotten the moment we surface from our meditation. Rather we must transform our thoughts and insights into earnest prayer, appropriating what we have heard into a sincere desire to change and to live out the challenges offered to us. So unless the heart and the will appropriate the ideas, there can be no conversion as well.
Secondly, we are told in the gospel that effective prayer is intimately linked with the Word of God and forgiveness. Unless we have heard the Word of God, we will not realize that God is divine providence and love. Then we will pray like the pagans “for they think that by using many words they will make themselves heard.” Rather, we are reminded that our heavenly Father knows what we need even before we ask Him. What is more essential, according to Jesus, is to pray with the mind of his Father. Necessarily, this requires us to pray in His name.
However, this presupposes that we have heard the Word of God. If the first reading speaks about the efficacy of the Word of God in our lives, it is because it precludes that we have truly heard the Word not in our minds only but in our hearts. This union with the will and mind of God is beautifully summed up in the Lord’s Prayer. What is significant to note is that Jesus taught us to pray specifically for our daily bread, which is not just about our temporal needs but the bread which is the Word of God, the manna from heaven. Thus, we must pray in such a way that our prayer expresses the Word of God itself. Indeed, the Lord’s Prayer is called the Pattern of all prayers because it is a prayer that sums up the whole revelation of who God is for us and what He desires for us. As such the Lord’s Prayer is an eschatological prayer for the coming of the Kingdom. Hence, Jesus gave the Lord’s Prayer to His disciples as the motto by which they sustained their hope for the realization of God’s kingdom on earth as in heaven.
From this perspective flows the implication of calling God our Father. For if we see God as our Father, then Jesus as our brother. This means that we are brothers and sisters of the same Father. That being the case, we must then live like brothers and sisters, forgiving each other in His name, just as He readily forgives us because we are His children. If our Father forgives our fellow brothers and sisters who sinned against us, we who claim to love Him so totally would surely not want to sadden Him by continuing to hold grudges against one of His children. Hence, an authentic prayer must be truly a biblical and Christocentric prayer.
Hence, effective prayer presupposes that we forgive and pray with a good and clear conscience. The failure to forgive will block our ability to pray effectively as our hearts and minds are close to God’s will. This explains why Jesus remarked that “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.” This must not be misunderstood as if the Father would not forgive our failings if we do not forgive others. On the contrary, this is spoken from our perspective of God’s love and mercy. The point is that if we do not forgive others, then we cannot receive God’s forgiveness since our hearts are too hardened to understand the mercy and love of God.
Thirdly, forgiveness is also linked to the Word of God and prayer. It is impossible to remove the blocks in our lives unless we hear the Word. Only by hearing the Word, can we be enlightened and be convinced to at least see the logic and the benefits of forgiveness. So hearing the Word presupposes forgiveness. Without hearing the Word of God, we will never understand the love and mercy of God for us. Only when we know that God loves us so much in Jesus, can we be inspired to forgive like Him.
But even if we are convinced of the truth of His love for us, we still will not be able to forgive unless we pray. Only prayer can change the hearts and minds of man. Only in prayer, in our intimate relationship with the Lord, touched by His heart and love, can we find the strength to forgive. Prayer therefore connects us with the heart of God, the hearts of man and our own brokenness. Prayer is a perquisite to liberating ourselves from our slavery to our sins and passions.
The end result of listening to the Word, praying and forgiving is that we will experience the love and power of God working in our lives in a real and concrete way. We will be transformed in our relationship with God, towards others and ourselves. As we are transformed, so, too, will the situation around us change. The unconditional love and power of God will be felt in our lives, bringing about positive effects on others. As we become more like Christ, which is what Lent is all about; we will renew our lives in Christ by renewing our baptismal commitments.
Indeed, this would be the fulfillment of Isaiah’s vision. Through him God avowed that “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.” Yes, we are transformed by the Word through effective prayer, the removal of all sins and obstacles in our lives. This, then, is the mystical perspective of the Lenten program as it truly inserts us into the life of Christ, which is the paschal mystery.
– See more at: http://www.csctr.net/reflections/#sthash.dl6niAjD.dpuf
The Sermon on the Mount by Carl Heinrich Bloch
chúng con nguyện danh Cha cả sáng, nước Cha trị đến,
ý Cha thể hiện dưới đất cũng như trên trời.
Xin Cha cho chúng con hôm nay lương thực hằng ngày,
và tha nợ chúng con như chúng con cũng tha kẻ có nợ chúng con.
Xin chớ để chúng con sa chước cám dỗ,
nhưng cứu chúng con cho khỏi sự dữ.
que ton Nom soit sanctifié,
que ton règne vienne,
que ta volonté soit faite
sur la terre comme au ciel.
Donne-nous aujourd’hui notre pain de ce jour.
Pardonne-nous nos offenses,
comme nous pardonnons aussi à ceux qui nous ont offensés.
Et ne nous soumets pas à la tentation,
mais délivre-nous du mal.
[Car c’est à Toi qu’appartiennent
le règne, la puissance et la gloire,
pour les siècles des siècles.]
Ama namin, sumasalangit Ka
Sambahin ang ngalan Mo
Mapasaamin ang kaharian Mo
Sundin ang loob Mo
Dito sa lupa, para nang sa langit.
Bigyan Mo kami ngayon ng aming kakanin sa araw araw.
At patawarin Mo kami sa aming mga sala,
Para nang pagpapatawad namin
Sa mga nagkakasala sa amin.
At huwag Mo kaming ipahintulot sa tukso,
At iadya Mo kami sa lahat ng masama.
Sapagkat Iyo ang kaharian, at kapangyarihan,
At ang kadakilaan, magpakailanman. Amen.
The Lord’s Prayer in English
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.
Because Yours is the kingdom, the power,
And the glory now and forever. Amen.
The Lord’s Prayer in Mandarin Chinese:
“John is on a spiritual path but he’s no saint….”
Hey Look: John’s on Facebook! — https://www.facebook.com/john.carey.39982
Shortly after he converted to Catholicism in the late 1930s, Thomas Merton was walking the streets of New York with his friend, Robert Lax. Lax was Jewish, and he asked Merton what he wanted to be, now that he was Catholic.
“I don’t know,” Merton replied, adding simply that he thought maybe he wanted to be a good Catholic.
Lax stopped him in his tracks.
“What you should say,” he told him, “is that you want to be a saint!”
Merton was dumbfounded.
“How do you expect me to become a saint?,” Merton asked him.
Lax said: “All that is necessary to be a saint is to want to be one. Don’t you believe that God will make you what He created you to be, if you will consent to let him do it? All you have to do is desire it.”…
Thomas Merton knew his friend was right.
Merton, of course, would go on to become one of the great spiritual thinkers and writers of the last century.
His friend Bob Lax would later convert to Catholicism himself — and begin his own journey to try and be a saint.
But the words Lax spoke ring down through the decades to all of us today. Because they speak so simply and profoundly to our calling as Catholic Christians.
Thomas Merton said: You should want to be a saint.
You should want to be a saint. And to be one, all you need is to want to be one.
Of course, if you only want to be a run-of-the-mill, average Christian, that’s probably all you’ll ever be. Every one can do just enough to get by. It’s not hard.
But many of us are challenged to do more….
Sometimes people say they had a terrible father so they cannot relate to “God the Father” or the “Our Father.” Scott Hahn addresses this difficulty in his book “Understanding Our Father” which is also a good read for fathers of every age.
Sometimes Catholics say they left the Church because of the priest sexual abuse of children scandal. I like to ask them, if some doctors were accuses of malpractice, would you never again go to a doctor? Would you never again go into a hospital?
Want to “Jump Start” your Christian life? Here’s a book that has done just that for millions of people…..
Another way to “Jump Start” your faith:
DVD “Catholicism” set by Fr. Robert Barron
There are many wonderful stories about Francis of Assisi. If we can all strive to be like him just a little bit; and a little bit more each day; we can change the world…..
Father Edward Leen’s book “Holy Spirit” is a terrific text for those seeking “The Indwelling of the Holy Spirit.”
The Imitation of Christ is one of the most widely read books in the world, after the Bible. It was written by a 15th century monk named Thomas A. Kempis. Anyone looking to increase their spirituality and to get closer to Jesus would be well advised to study and read this great book, which is available for free on line. It is a great idea to purchase a copy of this book also, to take with you to Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. Spiritual reading is one thing that is recommended by a lot of saints to overcome the unholy trinity of the flesh, the devil, and the world. It is broken down in to 4 sub books, with many great chapters in each one. And the really good news is that it is very easy to read, and it will change your life in ways unimaginable.