Daily Reflection
June 17th, 1999
Larry Gillick, S.J.
The Deglman Center for Ignatian Spirituality
2 Corinthians 11:1-11
Matthew 6:7-15
While we listen to Paul boasting of his confidence in the knowledge that he has in Christ, we also listen to the love which he has for the community to whom he is writing.  It is a powerful statement that he makes in today's first reading from the Eucharistic liturgy.  He takes a back seat to no one in being excited about what he has preached.  He worries that those whom he taught will be subject to temptation about their faith and so he writes this letter to encourage them to stay firm in their faith.

Jesus teaches us again about prayer and how simple it is.  It consists not in piling up lots of words which are intended to impress God or reduce Him to a mechanical object who conforms to requests by sheer volume.

We hear the "Our Father" for the first time and all the important elements of relating with God are therein contained.  Later in the Mass we will pray communally this ancient Christ-taught prayer.  Any phrase deserves our pondering; and we pause to reflect on the meaning of "our daily bread."

We announce that we are the blessed receivers of all that the Blessed Giver lovingly gives us this and every day.  This is both a statement of our truth and a true statement of a deep and holy desire.  We pray to be open to hold in our hearts and hands all that each day offers; from the morning's wake-up alarm through the traffic botherings, to the embrace of family and friends.  We commit ourselves to eating, but more, tasting the offerings at the table of our day.

We have a phrase which means we don't like something, "I can't stomach it."  In praying these words of Jesus, we prepare to ingest the daily bread, crust, crumbs and all.  It follows so easily from the phrase before this one, "Your kingdom come, Your will be done...".  God's kingdom stands on the loving generosity of the Giving-God.  God's will is that we receive and taste that which He lovingly offers.  We join Jesus in being members of God's family and we pray with open hands as a gesture of our truth, we are the receivers, but we are also, by nature, suspicious, doubtful and discriminating.  We want to know what's next, what do You have in Your other hand?  So we are taught to close this prayer by asking for forgiveness for not receiving all His gifts, especially our brothers and sisters, and especially their faults.  It is so hard to live this simple prayer and we are encouraged by the words, "as you forgive us."  The Christian life is an insult to much of our human demandings and doubts.  It is at the same time, an encouragement and blessing of that rebellious, suspicious self that is embrace by our parental God, "hallowed be Your name."

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