Reflection on Today’s Daily Readings by Fr. Bertrand Buby, SM
Scripture: May 28. Lectionary #351. I Peter 4:7-13. Psalm 96:10.11-12.13
St. Mark's Gospel does not have the "Lord's Prayer" ( the Our Father). We
turn to Matthew and Luke and the Didache for alternate forms of this prayer
that Jesus taught his disciples. Mark, however, is very selective about
the theme of prayer. He presents it to the reader whenever there is an
opportune moment that leads Jesus to teach about prayer. The content and
some of the words of the Lord's Prayer are, however, found throughout his
narrative at those important moments that Jesus gives us about prayer.
Jesus' own gestures and actions help us to see him at prayer in Mark's
Gospel. Remember too that in Mark Jesus has no earthly father ever
mentioned; there is no Joseph in Mark's Gospel, only the Father who is in
heaven is Jesus' father.
It is at the end of today's Gospel passage that we see the theme of
trusting faith and prayer mentioned after the incident of the cursing of
the fig tree. Jesus is teaching the final part of the Lord's prayer which
is concerned about forgiveness and reconciliation. Jesus, as a splendid
teacher, has this advice for us about praying, "Put your trust in God."
This means the type of faith that the New Testament is about. Put your
faith into action through prayer and concern about your relationships with
others and with God. Jesus continues, "I give you my word, if you are
ready to believe that you will receive for what you ask for in prayer, it
shall be done for you."
Next in our pericope come the words that show us that Mark has the content
of the Lord's Prayer within his Gospel: "When you stand to pray, forgive
anyone against whom you have a grievance so that your heavenly Father may
in turn forgive you your faults." ( Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive
those who have sinned against us).
Throughout our reading there are hints and echoes of prayer. We see Jesus
observing what is taking place in the sacred space of the Temple. He mulls
it over for a day and then confronts the commercialism that was there in
the exchange of money and animals. He shows us that the Temple is a place
of prayer not business matters. The disciples are encouraged to have great
faith which could even move mountains. But above all, prayer will lead them
to forgive others and lead them to be reconciled with God. Meditating on
our passage with the Lord's Prayer is an excellent way to pray and
interpret our text for today. Amen.
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