“Why Do you Pray the Lord’s Prayer?”

Deacon Greg Maskarinec’s Homily for the 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Luke – 10:25-37

Our lives are often filled with great challenged and difficulties.  We live in…

  • a world filled with division between family members, races, nations, ethnic groups, and even between religious groups.
  • a world who popular vision of God, if He exists at all, is an old man with long white hair and a beard, sitting on a throne, with lightning bolts in His hands, waiting to hurl them down upon those who disobey Him.
  • a world which is skeptical of anything beyond this physical universe.
  • a world where we cannot pray to and worship our Creator in public.
  • a world hate leads to violence and terrorism in our country and around the world – mostly recently, in Germany.
  • a world in which we want what we want and when we want it – regardless of the impact on others.
  • a world in which we desire instant gratification instead of that which brings us true and everlasting peace and happiness.
  • a world which denies the existence of sin and rejects the gift of God’s grace.
  • a world filled with temptations for power, prestige, pleasure and possessions.
  • a world which rejects the need for salvation.

Yes, it is a challenging and difficult world in which we live.  Do you face any of these challenges in your life?  I know you do.  We all do!   These problems can seem far beyond our ability to resolve or to have an impact.  So what are we to do?

There was a article this past week in the on-line edition of Time Magazine entitled, “How to Cope When the World Feels Like Total Chaos”.  The article cited 3 ways to best cope with these challenging and difficult times:

  • remember that you’re not alone.
  • do something that makes you feel better…like making the world a better place.
  • Know that it’s OK to tune out for a while.

With the exception of prayer, this approach to dealing with challenging and difficult times is what Jesus lived and taught.  For example, while Jesus was rejected and deserted even by His followers, He know He was not alone and He prayed to His Father who was always with Him.  In making the world a better place by healing the sick, raising the dead, comforting the sorrowful, Jesus was often found in prayer before and after preforming His miracles.  And finally, Jesus often turned out and would go off by Himself to pray.

Throughout His teachings, Jesus stressed the importance of prayer and how to pray.  In today’s Gospel the disciples found Jesus off my Himself in prayer and asked Him to teach them how to pray.  Jesus gives them, and us, the Lord’s Prayer with it 7 petitions.  When we pray the Lord’s Prayer, we don’t bring our petitions to God because God does not know what we need…God know what we need before we do.  We pray to remind ourselves of the timeless truths contained in the Lord’s Prayer. These petitions apply today, more than 2,000 years after Jesus first uttered them.

We pray the Lord’s Prayer…

  1. to remind ourselves of the unity that we are called to as children of God. God is not just my Father or your Father, but our Father.  And as a Father, God loves us as a daughter or a son!
  2. to remind ourselves that there is something beyond this world and our earthly life – it’s called heaven.
  3. to remind ourselves that God, by his nature, is Holy and glorified and that His name is deserving of special reverence…and therefore we hallow His name.
  4. to remind ourselves that we are not here to set up our won empires but to bring God’s kingdom to completion here on earth.
  5. to remind ourselves that it is God’s will that we should desire since God desires more for us than we do for ourselves.
  6. to remind ourselves that God gives us the Body-Blood-Soul – and – Divinity of Jesus in the supersubstantial bread as nourishment for our earthly journey.
  7. to remind ourselves that God’s mercy and forgiveness is available to us…to the extent that we extend mercy and forgiveness to others!
  8. To remind ourselves that in the hour of temptation we will make a deliberate choice for God which will lead to an increase in faith, hope and love.
  9. To remind ourselves that we are in need of salvation – the deliverance from sin and death – and that Jesus is our deliverer and source of our salvation.

As we move from the Liturgy of the Word in the Liturgy of the Eucharist we’ll join our voices together in reciting the Lord’s Prayer. Let’s pray it deliberately, intentionally, and reverently.  And after being strengthened by the Body of Christ in Holy Communion, let’s go out and confront the chaotic world in which we live…armed with and comforted by the Lord’s Prayer.