Daily homilies by the Prior of Pluscarden at the Quarr Abbey Retreat, 5-12 October 2016
Homily for Wednesday Week 27 Year II, 5 October 2016: on Luke 11:1-4
Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.
The few and simple words of the Lord's Prayer summarise, focus, make concrete what Jesus taught about prayer through the whole course of his life and ministry, and above all by his death. The commentators never come to an end of exploring the depths of the Lord's Prayer, for here are divine mysteries of inexhaustible profundity. Here is set before us a theology, a programme, a relationship; a way not just of speaking but of being.
It is very wonderful for us, in privileged moments, to watch, to listen to Jesus as he prays to his Father.
United with him, we are invited not only to imitate him, but even to enter his own prayer - never more so indeed than when present at the Holy Eucharist.
Assembled as his Body, filled with his Holy Spirit, we invoke God as our Father, and give him glory: through Jesus, and with Jesus, and in Jesus. We know that where God is, where Jesus is, where love is, there is his Kingdom. And nowhere do we more efficaciously pray for the establishment of the Kingdom in this world, and hasten its coming, than when we offer to the Father the all-sufficient sacrifice of Christ's saving death.
At Mass also Jesus feeds us with the Bread of Life for which we daily ask. He washes away our sins in his blood, and we who with praise and thanksgiving receive all that, readily commit ourselves again to the forgiveness of one another.
Finally, in Holy Communion we receive the strength and grace we need to resist all the attacks of the Evil One, and to face any suffering, even our own death, with confident hope.
According to the plan of St. Luke's Gospel, and of the lectionary, today's Gospel follows closely on from the story of the two sisters Martha and Mary, who received Jesus into their home. At Mass yesterday we read of how Martha toiled hard in his service, while Mary sat still at his feet, listening to him.
This story, together with the Prayer given us by Jesus, teaches us that there is an important distinction to be made between work and prayer. Yes, our work is certainly very important. We are obliged to fulfil our duty, and our doing so can be a most worthy and acceptable expression of our service of the Lord, of our devotion, of our charity. Our work can also be invested with our prayer, or at least with our continuous desire to remain always in God's presence. Nevertheless: at times we have to leave aside our work, and do nothing but pray. Mary of Bethany did that, and was commended. Jesus himself did that, and thereby set us an example to follow.
Lord, teach us how to pray. Help us to live in a spirit of adoration, love, humility, obedience, self sacrifice. Help us to understand something of your own great goodness and mercy towards us, so our hearts may truly be conformed to your heart, and so that we may give great glory to your name.