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The Lordís Prayer

First Posted 08:57:00 02/23/2010

1st Reading: Is 55:10-11 / Gospel: Mt 6:7-15

Jesus said to his disciples, ?When you pray, do not use a lot of words, as the pagans do, for they hold that the more they say, the more chance they have of being heard. Do not be like them. Your Father knows what you need, even before you ask him.

?This, then, is how you should pray: Our Father in heaven, holy be your name, your kingdom come and your will be done, on earth as in heaven.

Give us today the kind of bread we need. Forgive us our debts just as we have forgiven those who are in debt to us. Do not bring us to the test but deliver us from the evil one.

?If you forgive others their wrongs, your Father in heaven will also forgive yours. If you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive you either.?

Daily Gospel in the Life Experience

The prayer Jesus taught his disciples establishes a direct proportion between forgiveness among human beings and the divine forgiveness humans can expect from God.

The phrase, ?forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us? is supported by other teachings of Jesus such as the parable of the unforgiving servant. In that parable the Master forgave a servant who failed to settle a large debt. But when that same servant maltreated his fellow servant who owed him a pittance, the Master punished that unforgiving servant severely, admonishing him that he should have done the same to his fellow servant when he, the Master, wrought off his debt.

If mutual forgiveness is directly proportional to the forgiveness we can expect from God, it follows that our forgiveness must be total. Jesus would like us to pray ?forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us? so that we may realize how hypocritical it will be of us to ask for total forgiveness when our heart still harbors hatred towards our own kind. If our forgiveness is partial because we still entertain possibility of taking revenge in the near future when conditions will be to our favor, we can reasonably expect that in the future when the hand of justice will strike upon us, the same reservation we have attached to our forgiveness will also be attached to the forgiveness obtained from God.

Doesn?t this sound like God is a reluctant forgiver because he attaches a close-to-impossible condition to his forgiveness? Far from it! The requisite forgiveness of neighbor rests on the necessity of the heart to give space to God?s grace. It makes sense that God?s forgiveness becomes unavailing when the heart is full of hatred, much as a container cannot accommodate rice grains when it is already filled to the brim with sand. Forgiving others is a requisite for the heart to embrace God?s forgiveness. ? Rev. Fr. Dan Domingo P. delos Angeles, Jr., DM-HRM. Email: dan.delosangeles@gmail.com. Text: 09176250016 Please state sender?s name and location.


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