Praying for Forgiveness

Matthew 6: 7-15
Isa 55:10-11 / Ps 34

If you do not forgive others, your Father will not forgive you either.
(Matthew 6:15)

Let’s live simply, but give amply;
Bring others to God by our deeds;
Forgive fully, believe firmly
That God will take care of our needs.

Jesus instructed His disciples on praying: “Your Father knows what you need, before you ask Him. Pray, then, in this way: Our Father Who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. Do not bring us to the test, but deliver us from evil. If you forgive others their wrongs, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive you either.” (Mt. 6: 8-15)

Reflection

Our Lord taught us this prayer in order that we may seek to have a closer personal relationship with His Father. The first word, “Our” denotes unity with all of God’s children, as well as with His Beloved Son. That single word brings the Supreme Being, Creator of the Universe to us as a loving, caring Father. And so we ask Him each day to sustain and nourish us, not only with food on the table, but with the Body of His Son in the Eucharistic meal. More importantly, we also say this prayer for peace. But we cannot have true peace unless we are penitent of our sins and ask for God’s forgiveness (knowing the gravity of His sacrifice for their remission), and pledge to likewise to forgive those who wrong us, so that we may be considered worthy to be His children.

Jesus presented God as a personal, loving Father, in contrast to the common perception of the Jews at that time, who viewed Yahweh God as a distant authority. To the Jews, this teaching of Jesus must have seemed too radical, or even bordering on blasphemy. But Jesus taught with such authority that His disciples followed His example, and the whole Christian world is the better for it. Thus, when we pray to God, we should feel His presence like a father near his child.

“Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” At the same time, Jesus also taught us that we must acknowledge God as the King of all creation. He is the Ruler of our lives; thus we must subjugate our will to His will, and trust in all His plans for us. He is the Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honor and everlasting power” (1 Tim. 6:15-16).

Finally, Jesus taught us that we have to acknowledge God our Father as our Divine Provider, on Whom we depend for everything we need. In this way we are humbling ourselves, and putting our life totally under His care. For indeed our food and all our material needs come from Him; the forgiveness of our sins comes from Him (even our capacity to forgive others comes from Him); and our protection from the snares of the evil one comes from Him. If we can meditate on all of these lessons that Jesus has taught us while we are praying to the Father, then we have made it a perfect prayer.

Dear God, grant that we may honor Your Name in the words that we speak, and follow Your will in everything we set out to do, following the example of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who has taught us the way to love and adore You as our Father. Amen.

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