12 February 2008 Tuesday of the 1st Week of Lent
Isaiah 55, 10-11; Psalm 34; Matthew 6, 7-11
Can you imagine how you felt when you were given an opportunity to return home --- especially when you have a loving family? You would remember your mom’s (or your dad’s) home cooking. I would remember ice-cold lemonade or buko (young coconut) shake on hot summer days. I would smell the aroma of bicol express and pork adobo cooked with plenty of garlic on an open wood fire. My mother would tell me a short anecdote about childhood: my dad would return home from the farm with fruits for me. I remember, whether I had been a good or a bad boy, the fruits never stopped coming. When I was in high school, I would return home in the wee hours of the morning with my dad sleeping on the sofa waiting for me. The constancy of my parents’ love assured me during my growing up pains.
This is what God does to us: we experience him as father when he sends “the rains and the snow from heaven to water the earth and make it fruitful” for all of us, whether when we are good or bad; he sends the rain to both the wheat and the weeds. When we pray the Our Father, we call upon a Father who delights in pouring out His gifts and blessings on His children. He gives out of His generosity and love.
This is how know God: God loves us. When we say, ‘holy be your name’, the word, name, is not just the label we call one another, it means in Scripture the whole knowledge or character of the person we are calling. Therefore, we don’t approach God as someone we extract gifts from or be ‘user-friendly’. It is not the apt relationship to a loving father.
When we pray the Our Father to start our day, it awakens in us holy desires that would lead us towards becoming more like Christ. When we begin our day greeting the members of our family, “Good morning!” we renew our relationship with them, and provide us with the inspiration and motivation that gives meaning to the things that we do throughout the day.
When we pray the Our Father to end the day, it becomes the summary of everything we wish for throughout the day. When we close the day by greeting the members of our family, “Good night, Mom. Good night, Dad”, we tell them that they were the ones who inspired us throughout the day, and we wish them blissful sleep, assured of our love for them.
Thus the Our Father assures us of God’s constant love. And when we pray it, we assure God that we too will remain steadfast in His love.