What Is the Lord’s Prayer About? - Bishop Barron's Sunday Sermon
Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Friends, our Gospel for today is St. Luke’s version of the Lord’s Prayer, the Our Father. This prayer, which is probably recited millions of times a day all over the world, includes some of the best-known words on the planet. But what do they mean? It might be good for us to walk slowly through Luke’s version to see what this great prayer is about—and what we are asking for when we pray it.
Gospel: Lk 11:1-13
Jesus 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."
And he said to them, "Suppose one of you has a friend to whom he goes at midnight and says, 'Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, for a friend of mine has arrived at my house from a journey and I have nothing to offer him,' and he says in reply from within, 'Do not bother me; the door has already been locked and my children and I are already in bed. I cannot get up to give you anything.' I tell you, if he does not get up to give the visitor the loaves because of their friendship, he will get up to give him whatever he needs because of his persistence.
"And I tell you, ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. What father among you would hand his son a snake when he asks for a fish? *Or hand him a scorpion when he asks for an egg? If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?"
*United States Conference of Catholic.
Bishop Robert Barron
Friends, our Gospel for today gives us an opportunity to reflect on the great prayer that Jesus taught us. Think how this prayer links us to all of the great figures in Christian history, from Peter and Paul to Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Francis of Assisi, John Henry Newman, G.K. Chesterton, John Paul II, and right up to the present day.
A desire to pray is planted deep within us. It just means the desire to speak to God and to listen to him. Keep in mind that prayer is not designed to change God’s mind or to tell God something he doesn’t know. God isn’t like a big city boss or a reluctant pasha whom we have to persuade. He is rather the one who wants nothing other than to give us good things—though they might not always be what we want.
Can you see how this prayer rightly orders us? We must put God’s holy name first; we must strive to do his will in all things and at all times; we must be strengthened by spiritual food or we will fall; we must be agents of forgiveness; we must be able to withstand the dark powers.