Thursday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time

Sir 48:1-14; Ps 97:1-7; Mt 6:7-15

The LORD is king.  There is no other universal and sovereign LORD.  This is the reason for worldwide rejoicing.  Clouds and darkness are round about the LORD and justice and judgment are the foundation of his throne.  The LORD is the source of all that is and his creating love has made all things good.  Indeed, he has made us in his own image and likeness and we long for the love and intimacy that only the LORD can provide.  It is of our very nature to seek his face and to long for his truth.  The fire of his love goes before him and consumes his foes all around.  No enemy of the LORD can endure the fire of his truth and love.  His lightnings illumine the darkness of our lives and all creation trembles to see his glory.  Even the everlasting mountains and the majestic hills are like wax before him.  All the angelic hosts proclaim his justice, and all the tribes on earth behold his might.  Any other god and those who worship false gods are put to shame in the light of his truth.  Those who glory in the nothingness of false gods are wasting their breath and their affection.  Indeed, all gods lie prostrate before the LORD God Almighty.  Indeed, this is the cause of our rejoicing and of the gladness of every nation.  The universal longing for beauty, truth, and goodness is fulfilled only in the majesty and mercy of the LORD God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  The Prophet Elijah was so filled with the fire of God that he was chosen to meet the Lord Jesus on the holy mountain.  In the transfiguration the Prophets Moses and Elijah who had encountered the fire of God welcomed his coming in the flesh, radiant with the beauty, truth and goodness of the Father.  The brightness of the Father’s glory shining on the face of Jesus does not frighten us away; rather, we are caught up in the love of the Father and the Son and learn how to approach him in spirit and truth with the words of the Disciples Prayer.  It is the Holy Spirit who whispers this prayer every time we open our hearts and mouths.


By our baptism we participate in the very person and nature of Christ; we are priest, prophet and king.  Like Elijah we, too, appear as fire on the earth and our words are as a flaming furnace.  We are called in this new identity to speak with zeal and perform wondrous deeds.  Indeed we share in the glory of the Only Begotten Son.  No worldly king is a threat to our King.  Indeed, we our loyalty to the King endangers every unjust and oppressive ruler on the face of the earth.  By our priestly prayer we intercede for all who suffer famine and struggle with pain.  In Christ the Great High Priest we offer the only perfect sacrifice that brings salvation to the whole world.  We give a united and powerful witness to the Living and True God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  This bold and beautiful witness brings light and joy to all who seek the truth and long for the love that is faithful and eternal.  Such a claim is not just elitism nor do we proclaim an exclusive religion.  Rather, our whole being cries out the truth, beauty, and goodness for which the whole world longs, for which every man, woman, and child desires with an unrelenting life-long search.  Our Gospel is the only truth that sets all our brothers and sisters free.


The Divine Teacher summons us to prayer, true and simple.  We are not to expect magic from the words we speak.  We do not force the LORD by the number and complexity of our prayer.  We ask simply that his Name be hallowed; we petition for the end of blasphemy for the end of those who curse God for their misfortune or suffering.  We continue to ask for the surprising and supreme arrival of his Kingdom in our hearts in our history.  It is the Father’s will for which we pray, not our own will.  We have come to know and believe in the love he has for us; the Father will not refuse the Holy Spirit from anyone who asks.  Indeed, it is this Holy Spirit that enables us to take on the Father’s Will, to have the obedience of the Son.  As his will unfolds, as his Kingdom comes, as his Name is spoken with honor, heaven and earth unite and a new creation begins.  From the source of Manna all along the exodus we can depend on the New Manna for our daily strength and refreshment.  In consuming his very Flesh and Blood we become what we eat.  Because of his forgiveness, we must be constantly forgiving to all who offend us, even before they ask or deserve such forgiveness.  Finally, we hope for the strength the Father alone can give us to overcome temptation and ultimately to triumph over the evil one.  In this prayer the Lord Jesus, the Teacher Anointed, we learn to pray as the LORD God Almighty wants us to pray.  In this prayer we learn to pray in simple truth, and we can be sure of his swift and gracious response.