Thursday, January 5, 2017

A Most Dangerous Prayer: Part 2

As we continue this spiritual reflection of the Our Father, I must first refresh what we have already seen in the first line, "Our Father, who are in heaven, hallowed be your name." In this phrase we have established a necessary relationship, the relationship of a trusting child looking to the goodness and otherness of the divine Father. In this phrase we set a trajectory for our lives that stretches beyond this mortal life and set our hopes and conforms our lives towards heaven.  These words are given by Jesus to tell us what He expects of His Body, the Church.  Again, these words can be of great wisdom and instruction, or they can be words of self-incrimination at our judgement based on how we have lived our lives in the freedom God has given us.

Having established the type and  trajectory of this relationship, we now speak a series of phrases on how this relationship is to find its bearing in our lives.  This relationship with the Father is to have a fundamental effect that shifts our minds, hearts, actions, thoughts, and words to be an imitation of the Father.  Having set this, Jesus gives us next the words, "Your kingdom come." These three words are explosive.  In these three words we surrender any and all pretense of the kingdoms we wish to set in our lives with us as the king.  In these three words we willfully reorder our priorities and efforts, not to the building up of our own wealth and power, but towards the building up of the Kingdom of God.  We have pledged ourselves, in uttering these words, towards not mere discipleship, but towards the purpose of the Christ Event: the salvation of all who will hear, believe, and be converted.  We pledge ourselves to the evangelical call of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

Are we really living such a calling?  Faith is not a private matter.  Faith is to be a evangelical calling card.  The Kingdom of God is built not by magic, but by the intentional action of Jesus Christ and His people.  If we live our faith as a pious hobby, as a functional social event, or an empty shell, these words, "Your Kingdom come" ring hollow.  If we are intent on building our own kingdoms, then 'your Kingdom come' becomes a mocking deceit.  God is not sated by an onrush of the right words hurled in His direction.  No, He demands a transformed life that matches such noble words.  He so wants it, that He will give us all the grace necessary for us to accomplish it. 

But for His Kingdom to come necessitates our kingdoms to fall.   Remember those wonderful words of St. John the Baptist that we hear in the Gospel of John 3:30: He (Jesus) must increase, I must decrease.  In these three words from the Our Father (Your Kingdom come) we essentially are saying the same thing.  Lord, your kingdom must increase and my kingdoms decrease.  It is a willful surrender of the temporal for the eternal.  These three words harken us  to humble submission driven by a profound trust that God's Kingdom can and will give us what the kingdoms of this world will not.  'Your Kingdom come'  is an act of hope. 

Woe to us, then, if we are intent on building our own kingdoms at the expense of the Kingdom of Heaven! To pray this prayer with authenticity requires a humble submission of one's entire life to the will and providence of the Father.  Recall that the first hearers of this were wanting an earthly kingdom run by the Messiah.  they were short sighted.  We are as well if we settle for the tawdry plastic crown presented by this world in place of the Kingdom of God.  It is human nature to place our hopes on those things confined to time and space.  However, we remind ourselves every time we pray the Our Father that we aspire to something greater, but to get to the greater requires allegiance to the correct kingdom.  In giving us these words in the words of prayer before the Father, Jesus is telling us where our true kingdom and allegiance is to rest.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you Father for some great words so reflect on this day of the epiphany.