Catholic Mass Readings and Reflection June 20, 2024


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R/. Rejoice in the Lord, you just.

V/. Alleluia

R/. Alleluia

V/. You have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”

R/. Alleluia.

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.      Often, many feel that the size of prayer shows its quality. Accordingly, the more words I am able to use, the better the way I articulate them, and the longer I engage myself or others in prayer, the more I am rated as successful in praying. But this is wrong thinking.

2.      We do not deny the need for words in prayer. Words can be very helpful as they can motivate and inspire others to pray better. The wrong choice of words or poor use of them can be very annoying and even distracting.

3.      However, the point here is again about the motive and effect of the words in prayer. If words are used simply for the sake of impressing others with my capacity and skill of praying, then they fail to be effective. Words are only tools and channels that carry and transmit something deeper. They must be transmitters of a profound spirit and relationship. They must lead to a renewed way of living.

4.      In this context, Jesus teaches us the sublime prayer, ‘Our Father’. It is the prayer of prayers. It is not one prayer like many others, but the real spirit and essence of all prayers. It shows us what it means to pray, when we pray what we do, and what we pray for. It is not a matter of reciting a particular prayer called ‘Our Father’. Rather, it is a matter of reminding ourselves of the spirit that must permeate us whenever we pray.

5.      Accordingly, whenever we pray, we must be pervaded by a spirit of unity and family, We must remember that God is our one Father and we are all His children and brothers and sisters of one family. We sanctify His name not only by praising His name but much more by living up to His name. We do not bring disgrace or shame to His holy name.

6.      We pray for His kingdom. It is not a personal matter of God but everyone’s duty to spread God’s reign of love, justice, and integrity. We commit ourselves to do His holy will. We realise our nature of dependence on Him and trust in His providential care. Very especially we make sure that we are open to forgiving and reconciling. We also become cautious and resistant to all evil assaults.

7.      It is such a spirit of prayer, the interior spiritual power that empowered both the prophets Elijah and Elisha and transformed them into powerful and effective channels of God’s might and light. In the first reading from Sirach, many praises are accorded to Elijah mainly and also Elisha. But these are not actually individual glories. Rather, they indicate God’s own glory that worked in and through them.

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