Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Thursday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time. The reading is from Gospel of Matthew 6:5-15.

The Lord’s Prayer by James Joseph Jacques Tissot

Teaching about Prayer – Matthew 6:5–15

When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners so that others may see them. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward.

But when you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.

In praying, do not babble like the pagans, who think that they will be heard because of their many words.

Do not be like them. Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

“This is how you are to pray:

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread;
and forgive us our debts,
as we forgive our debtors;
and do not subject us to the final test,
but deliver us from the evil one.

If you forgive others their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions.

Matthew inserts into his basic traditional material an expansion of the material on prayer. It includes the model prayer, the “The Lord’s Prayer.”

Jesus tells his audience,

  • “In praying, do not babble like the pagans, who think that they will be heard because of their many words.” (Matthew 6:7)

Jesus contrasts the way to pray not with the prayer of the hypocrites but with that of the pagans. Their babbling probably means their reciting a long list of divine names, hoping that one of them will force a response from the deity they are praying to.

And then Jesus teaches them a model prayer – his prayer, “The Lord’s Prayer.”

Matthew’s form of the “The Lord’s Prayer” follows the liturgical tradition of his church.

  • “This is how you are to pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,” (Matthew 6:9)

The invocation “Our Father in heaven,” is found in many rabbinic prayers of the post-New Testament period.

Though the “hallowing” of the divine name in “Hallowed be your name“, could be understood as reverence done to God by human praise and by obedience to his will, this is more probably a petition that God hallow his own name, i.e., that he manifest his glory by an act of power, in this case, by the establishment of his kingdom in its fullness.

  • But I will show the holiness of my great name, desecrated among the nations, in whose midst you desecrated it. Then the nations shall know that I am the LORD—oracle of the Lord GOD—when through you I show my holiness before their very eyes. (Ezekiel 36:23)

The petition, “your kingdom come,” in

  • your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10)

sets the tone of the prayer, and inclines the balance toward divine rather than human action in the petitions that immediately precede and follow it.

Your will be done, on earth as in heaven” is a petition to the divine to establish the kingdom, present now in heaven, be executed on earth too.

The rare Greek word ἐπιούσιον (epiousion), which may mean “daily” or “future” (other meanings have also been proposed) occurs in the New Testament only in Matthew 6:11 and in Luke 11:3.

“Give us today our daily bread;” (Matthew 6:11)
τὸν ἄρτον ἡμῶν τὸν ἐπιούσιον δὸς ἡμῖν σήμερον·

“Give us each day our daily bread” (Luke 11:3)
τὸν ἄρτον ἡμῶν τὸν ἐπιούσιον δίδου ἡμῖν τὸ καθ’ ἡμέραν·

A single occurrence of the word outside of these texts and of literature dependent on them has been claimed, but the claim is highly doubtful.

The word “future” would conform better to the eschatological tone of the whole prayer. So understood, the petition would be for a speedy coming of the kingdom (today), which is often portrayed in both the Old Testament and the New under the image of a feast, exemplified in the following:

On this mountain the LORD of hosts will provide for all peoples a feast of rich food and choice wines, juicy, rich food and pure, choice wines. (Isaiah 25:6)

“I say to you, many will come from the east and the west, and will recline with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at the banquet in the kingdom of heaven,” (Matthew 8:11)

“And people will come from the east and the west and from the north and the south and will recline at table in the kingdom of God.” (Luke 13:29)

The word “debts” in

  • and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors;” (Matthew 6:12)

is used metaphorically of sins, “debts” owed to God. See also

  • “and forgive us our sins for we ourselves forgive everyone in debt to us, and do not subject us to the final test.” (Luke 11:4)

The request is probably for forgiveness at the final judgment.

Jewish apocalyptic writings speak of a period of severe trial before the end of the age, sometimes called the “messianic woes.” This petition

  • “and do not subject us to the final test, but deliver us from the evil one.” (Matthew 6:13)

asks that the disciples be spared that final test.

The following verses

  • If you forgive others their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions. (Matthew 6:14-15)

reflect a set pattern called “Principles of Holy Law.” Human action now will be met by a corresponding action of God at the final judgment.

The Lord’s prayer is also found in Luke, in a different context and in a different form.

The Lord’s Prayer in Luke – Luke 11:1–4

He was praying in a certain place, and when he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples.”

He said to them, “When you pray, say:

Father, hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come.

Give us each day our daily bread and forgive us our sins for we ourselves forgive everyone in debt to us, and do not subject us to the final test.

Luke’s less developed form of the “The Lord’s Prayer” also represents the liturgical tradition known to him, but it is probably closer than Matthew’s to the original words of Jesus.

RELATED ARTICLES

Add this anywhere

Enhanced by Zemanta