October 09, 2019 (Wednesday of week 27 Year I)
Your kingdom come…
Dear friends in Christ, the kingdom of God is open to all and it was for that purpose Jesus came among us to admit those who are willing to be a part of it. This is a kingdom that has been described in several parables as a feast or banquet. It admits of all those who are willing to turn around and take the new course by following Jesus and doing his will, which aligns with the Father’s will. We must examine ourselves, if as his followers we truly mean it when we pray that His kingdom would come.
Our first reading today (Jonah 4:1-11) completes the selection on this prophet. Jonah who had earlier refused the mission to Nineveh was eventually taken to the same city by the fish that swallowed him up. Jonah ran through the city in one day, a journey that would have taken three. Yet the people heard him and repented of their evil ways for which God did not destroy the city. Jonah was however not pleased that God did not destroy the city. The Lord made a plant grow to provide him a shade and by the next day destroyed the plant. In anger Jonah queries why that should happen. God said to him, “You pity the plant, for which you did not labour…should I not pity Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand persons…?” Just as you feel bad when your pet dies, a business fails, or you lose someone or something dear, God shows it is not his joy for any of his children to suffer eternal damnation.
The Gospel passage (Luke 11:1-4) is the Lord’s response to the request by his apostles “Lord, teach us to pray as John taught his disciples.” The Lord’s prayer recorded in Luke is shorter, compared to Matthew’s version, which appears more polished. Luke version, contains the praise of the Father and four petitions in very short phrases. This format of prayer requires that the one who prays, while recognising God’s supremacy in the hallowing of his name, also makes God’s kingdom, his primary search object. This will of course, involve living as commanded by God, and sharing the love of neighbour. “Give us this day our daily bread,” is a clear indication that it is God who provides. He provided Manna for the pilgrims at the exodus, and provides the Bread of the Eucharist for the Christian people. He continues down through the ages to feed his people both materially and spiritually. No matter the hard labour involved on our part, it is God who makes the efforts yield the desired satisfaction. “Forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us.” This is a prayer but also a commitment to forgive others. Forgiving everyone who is indebted to us, means that we forgive all, just as Christ gave his life for all. “Lead us not into temptation” completes the petitions. The true disciple must pray always to overcome temptations, particularly that which could put the faith at risk, and go a step further to avoid occasions of sin. How ready are you for the kingdom?
Let us pray: Lord, you taught your disciples to pray, move us to pray and when we call on you hear and answer us. Amen. May the Almighty God bless you, the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.