Thursday of Week 11 in Ordinary Time
Jesus taught his disciples to pray. He gave us this prayer and handed over to us the passcode that gives us access to the Father as he has access to the Father. The words are important, but even more important is that intimacy he shared with the Father, that he now invites us to share as well. We could go on for days pondering the very words of the prayer. But there is significance in his teaching before and after the prayer. He begins by telling us his disciples not to babble on like the pagans who by their sheer number of words believe they will be heard. “Your Father knows what you need even before you ask.” Then he concludes by reminding us that the Father’s forgiveness of our transgressions compels us to forgive the transgressions of our neighbor. It’s a restatement of that line in the prayer “forgive us … as we forgive those who trespass against us.” When we receive forgiveness, we express our gratitude by extending forgiveness.
Elijah and Elisha were such prominent characters in Israel’s story that their memory lives on, some 600 years after as recounted in the Book of Sirach. But Jesus points out John the Baptist as Elijah come back from the grave. The prevalent belief was that Elijah would return before the Messiah came, “to put an end to wrath before the day of the Lord, to turn back the hearts of fathers toward their sons, and to re-establish the tribes of Jacob.” Elijah ensured continuity of his mission by setting up Elisha as his successor. Jesus ensures continuity of his mission by setting up his disciples, the church, to bear his word and extend healing and reconciliation to the many generations yet to come.
By handing over to us the passcode that gives us access to the Father as he had access to the Father, Jesus ensures continuity of his mission founded and nourished by intimacy with God.
This mass was offered for the repose of +Richard Crotty
Rolo B Castillo © 2020