Jesus gives us a kind of litmus test of whether or not God's fatherhood is clear to us
Today’s readings are here.
Whenever I want to pray I am reminded of these words from Matthew’s Gospel, “In praying, do not babble like the pagans, who think that they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them. Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.”
This comment from Jesus drastically diminishes any attempt I might make to fill my prayer time with a lot of reasoning and many words. I know that he understands me even if I say little and if what I say (or do not say) is carefully chosen. The prayer of the Our Father, which Jesus adds immediately after this comment, is precisely a careful choice of what is essential to say.
And among the few things Jesus indicates in this prayer, the thing that should stick with us most is the word “Father.” If God is not our Father, and if we are not convinced that he is, then our prayer is not Christian and has no real efficacy. This is something we should all stop and think about.
At the end of the Gospel, though, Jesus gives us a kind of litmus test of whether or not God’s fatherhood is clear to us: “If you forgive others their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions.” Forgiveness is the great proof of our belief in God’s fatherhood, for only if God is my Father can we afford to forgive, because he is the one who will do justice for us. And above all, if he is a Father, even our enemies are our brothers and sisters.
Father Luigi Maria Epicoco is a priest of the Aquila Diocese of Italy and teaches Philosophy at the Pontifical Lateran University and at the ISSR ‘Fides et ratio,’ Aquila. He dedicates himself to preaching, especially for the formation of laity and religious, giving conferences, retreats and days of recollection. He has authored numerous books and articles. Since 2021, he has served as the Ecclesiastical Assistant in the Vatican Dicastery for Communication and columnist for the Vatican’s daily newspaper L’Osservatore Romano.
Aleteia is proud to offer this commentary on the readings for daily Mass, in collaboration with Fr. Epicoco.