Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

Matthew 6:8

Thursday, 18 June 2020

Sirach 48:1–14; Psalm 97:1–7; Matthew 6:7–15.

There are echoes we are meant to hear and take notice of in our readings today; a parallel in relationships between what we see in the first reading and in our Gospel today. The relationship between Elijah and Elisha, recounted by Sirach in this morning’s reading, is similar to the relationship between Jesus and his disciples. Just as Elisha stood watching Elijah being taken up to heaven, the disciples watched the ascension of Jesus. And as Elisha received a double portion of Elijah’s spirit, the disciples at Pentecost received the Holy Spirit of their risen Lord. This enabled them to share Jesus’s passion and power. Although Paul was not there on the day of Pentecost, he was filled with the same fiery zeal and made the Gospel of God revealed in Christ Jesus his unceasing boast. Our Catholic Catechism tells us that when we pray the first three petitions of the Our Father—the Gospel for today—we, too, are seized by “the burning desire … of the beloved Son for his Father’s glory”.

We remember that the first three petitions of the Our Father are summed up in the central one: “Thy Kingdom come”. All three long for the reign of God to come in its fullness. To pray for this is to ask the Father to bring to completion the saving work begun in Christ.

“This is how you are to pray,” Jesus teaches us today.

Let’s pray that we might listen to Jesus’ call and that, with practice, we might learn to truly offer ourselves in service of building God’s Kingdom. In these times where Gender-based violence stalks our Society, let us turn to God, our Father, and receive God’s good gifts for ourselves and share them with our neighbour.

Lord,

Thank you for teaching me to pray to Our Father. Help me to see your work, and the working of Your Spirit, in my life. Let me always build your Kingdom, that 'thy will be done', and not mine, always.

Amen.

 
Fr Matthew Charlesworth SJ

Fr Matthew Charlesworth SJ entered the Society of Jesus in 2005 and underwent the usual course of studies in his formation, which took him to such varied places as Canada, France, Ireland, Kenya, Spain, Tanzania, the United Kingdom, the United States, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and South Africa. Whilst working at the Institute, Matthew managed the background technical aspects of much of the Institute's work and was involved in the Spirituality work, completing the Advanced Spiritual Directors Training Course and the Spiritual Exercises Training run by the Institute. He is a member of Spiritual Directors International and was also a part-time lecturer in Sacred Scripture at St Augustine College of South Africa. He is currently the Director of Communications for the Jesuits in Southern Africa, based in Lusaka, Zambia.

m.charlesworth@jesuitinstitute.org.za @mcharlesworth
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