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17th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Our Father


“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’” (Luke 11:1-4).
 
In first-century Palestine, groups were recognized by the way they prayed, so when the disciples asked Jesus how to pray they were asking him to give them an identity. Christian identity is rooted in the community’s prayer.
 
In today’s gospel reading, Jesus presents us with his catechism on prayer. Jesus’ prayer was presented to the community, not to individuals. The Gospels present us with two forms of the Lord’s Prayer—Matthew’s and Luke’s. Matthew’s version (Matthew 6:9-13) is future-oriented, whereas Luke’s version, which we hear today, is present-centered with an eye to the future. The petition for daily bread is a request that God provide the physical necessities needed to carry out his mission on earth. Jesus’ prayer asks that disciples not be entrapped by the daily seductions of life and that they never stop praying.
 
The Roman Missal reminds us that the Lord’s Prayer proclaimed in the liturgy is a request for daily food and for the forgiveness of sins, so that the Eucharist, which is holy, may be given to us who are also holy. We, who are holy, are strengthened and nourished by the power of the Spirit to go out and proclaim the reign of God. For this we pray; for this we lay down our lives. The prayer Jesus taught us is rooted in love and concern for others. Are we ready to go forth boldly? Are we willing?
 
– How might you offer The Lord’s Prayer with greater devotion and expectancy?
 
Adapted from PrayerTime: Faith-Sharing Reflections on the Sunday Gospels, available at the RENEW International store.

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