Daily Reflection
October 8th, 2008

Robert P. Heaney

John A. Creighton University Professor
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“Pray” and “prayer” in the New Testament almost always means petition – asking God for something. Today’s gospel says that Jesus was in a certain place “praying”. His disciples would have understood that He was asking God – His Father – for guidance. “Show me your will. What is it you want me to do?” Naturally enough, His disciples asked Him to tell them what they should ask God for as well (as John the Baptist had done for his followers). Jesus tells them to ask God to establish his reign on earth. It was the “how to do that” for which He, himself, had been seeking guidance.

“Hallowed be your name” and “Your kingdom come” are simply polite ways of asking God to run things His way. They are not just pious wishes that people would honor God’s name or bring about God’s rule. They are calls for action – for God to act, not us.

The question we must answer when confronted with this Gospel passage – when we pray the Lord’s Prayer – is “Do we mean it?” “Do we really want God to run things His way?” The Gospels are full of Jesus telling us what that would be like. “The Kingdom of God is like . . .” Like the prodigal father who welcomed home his lost son. Like the vineyard owner who paid the laborers who worked only one hour the same wage as those who worked all day. Like the person who gave a feast and invited “…the poor, the maimed, the lame and the blind…” Like little children.

These things offend our sensibilities. This is not how the world works. If we were to do this, there would be terrible disruption. Society and business, as we know them, would come apart.


That’s why the final petition that Jesus gives is “. . . subject us not to the trial” (in some translations “temptation”). Don’t let us succumb to the temptation of saying (and acting as if) it won’t work. Perhaps the reason the Kingdom hasn’t come yet is that we haven’t wanted it to.

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