Catholic Mass Readings and Reflection February 20, 2024


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R/. The Lord rescues them in all their distress.

V/. Glory and praise to you, O Christ

R/. Glory and praise to you, O Christ

V/. Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.

R/. Glory and praise to you, O Christ.

At that time: Jesus said to his disciples, “When you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

1.      We have in today’s gospel the sublime prayer ‘Our Father’. It is unique because it is the only prayer that is formulated, taught, and ordered by Jesus to pray. However, the prayer ‘Our Father’ is not just a single, individual prayer.

2.       It is not so much what to pray. It is not so much about what are the contents or formulations. Rather, what matters is how to pray, and with what spirit to pray. Thus, the prayer ‘Our Father’ is not a prayer but a way of praying.

3.       ‘Our Father’ is the model or summary-prayer. It denotes the essence of the spirit of praying. Some of the essential ingredients of this spirit of praying are the sense of family and belonging; the sense of reverence; the sense of surrender; the sense of mission; the sense of contentment; the sense of forgiveness, and the sense of resistance and steadfastness amidst trials and temptations.

4.       “Sense of family and belonging”: In calling God ‘Our Father’, we affirm and remind ourselves that we all belong to one family of God as His children and brothers and sisters. Therefore, a good prayer must always carry this note and tone of filial and fraternal bonding.

5.       “Sense of reverence”: “Holy be your name!” implies that we not only honour and revere God but also live a life that keeps up His holy name. We keep Him holy by living holy and worthy lives. “Sense of surrender”: “Your will be done!” Our prayer is that we do not cling to or do our will but God’s will. His will becomes our norm and doing His will becomes our only concern and priority.

6.       “Sense of mission”: We wish and pray that God reigns everywhere and always. We pray that His kingdom of love, justice, and peace is established. Further, we also commit ourselves to promoting this kingdom. “Sense of content”: “Give us our daily bread” denotes that we become satisfied with what is minimum. We shall not be ridden by greed and accumulation.

7.       “Sense of forgiveness”: This is a crucial attitude and approach for genuine prayer. A prayer that has no forgiving heart is not acceptable to God. A heart that prays but harbours a grudge, resentment, and negativity cannot win God’s grace. To the extent we forgive others. to that extent, we will obtain God’s forgiveness.

8.       “Sense of steadfastness”: Surrounded and tormented by trials and tribulation. In the face of them, we must remain stable, do not lament, and become efficacious; lest we succumb easily to any little stroke of the evil.

Catholic Leaf is website that provides Sundays and Weekdays catholic reflections. Please use catholic leaf as a tool for preparing your Homily.