Thursday of the 11th Week of the Year

Matt 6:7-15

The Lord’s Prayer


When Jesus warned His apostles not to babble when praying like the pagans, and taught them how to pray, he told them something basic and intimate in His relationship with His Father. Seeing Jesus pray with such intensity and regularity, the apostles felt that without prayer, they would not understand His person and mission and much more to follow Him.

Jesus addressed His prayer to God as His Father using the Aramaic Abba. To address God with words of tenderness and closeness like daddy or Itay is totally new to the minds of Jesus’ disciples. The two versions of the “Our Father” from the gospel of Mark and Matthew seem to suggest that Jesus did not intend to give us a fixed formula but to show us the spirit of Christian prayer. The spirit behind Christian prayer is total and complete trust in God as a personal Father, who loves His children without condition. (Fr. Ben Limsuan, SVD Bible Diary 2002)


My friends from other countries usually comment that we Filipinos have the tendency to beat around the bush when expressing something we wish or need.

In the gospel today, Jesus tells us to be direct when we pray. He tells us to call God “Abba” – Father. Jesus shares with us His intimate relationship with God. As we call God, “Abba” we express our childlike trust and intimate familiarity with God, who knows what we need, who reads our hearts.

So when we pray we need not put on so many words because there is no need to fear telling God candidly what we feel in our hearts. He never rejects His beloved children. He is a loving Father with whom we can be totally at home. (Sr. Marilyn Leano, SSpS Bible Diary 2004)


The “Our Father” can be interpreted as a commentary or explanation of the Great Commandment of Love.

The deepest foundation of the commandment of love is our divine filiation;  we are asked to love because we are children of God who is love. We are actually told to act/behave according to our nature. (Philosophical axiom – “action follows being” – as a thing is, so it acts).

The first part of the Our Father deals with the love of God. the three petitions roughly correspond to the first three commandments of the Decalogue. God deserves totality. Jesus’ life of total dedication to His Father’s will is the most touching explanation of this first part of the Lord’s Prayer.

The second part of the Our Father concerns one’s love for self and others – the second part of the Great Commandment. The petitions concern the basic needs of human life.

On the level of physical life, we ask for ourselves and for all humanity our daily sustenance/food. On the second level (psychosocial), we ask for sound relationships (forgiveness). On the third level of life (spiritual), we ask for deliverance from evil, that we never be separated from the Lord.

These petitions also teach/remind us how to love one another – to take care of our fellowmen on the physical level (to provide for their basic needs), on the psychosocial level (to work for the dignity of all, for mutual love and concern); on  the spiritual level (to help bring people to our heavenly the spiritual level (to help bring people to our heavenly Father). (Fr. Willy Villegas, SVD Bible Diary 2005)


Bishop Chito Tagle’s talk about the Church in Asia (Ecclesia in Asia) pointed out the fact that Christians in Asia seem to have lost the contemplative dimension of their spirituality. When religious formators are sent for further studies in Spirituality they are not sent to Christian Institutes of Spirituality but are sent to Hindu or Buddhist gurus to learn from them the correct form of contemplation. The Christian form of Spirituality seems to be weak and lacking in that aspect. What Christians have is a “loud” kind of spirituality as manifested in our church structures, liturgies and symbols.

In today’s gospel Jesus discourages us in using “loud” style of praying. “When you pray do not use a lot of meaningless words, as the pagans do, who think that God will hear them because their prayers are long. Do not be like them,” (vv 7-8). Instead, He teaches us how to pray correctly and effectively to our Father in heaven.

Points for reflections:

  1. Authentic Christians are grateful persons. Hence, aside from the correct manner of praying what are the contents of our prayers?
  2. In our prayers are we more of a listener or a talker? (Fr. Ed Fugoso, SVD Bible Diary 2006)


“This is how you are to pray,” Jesus gently instructed the disciples: God’s glory takes primary place in prayer; your needs and wishes are always secondary. This is how the Lord’s Prayer is presented. The first three petitions deal with the glory of God: “hollowed be your name; your kingdom come; your will be done.” The next three petitions articulate some fundamental needs of man: “Give us today our daily bread; forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors; do not subject us to the final test, but deliver us from the evil one.”

Dag hammarskjold, UN Secretary General (1953-1961), who died in a plane crash off Congo while trying to negotiate a ceasefire, wrote in his personal journal which was discovered in his apartment after his death and later published as Markings, wrote his own version of the Lord’s Prayer. He prayed; “Hollowed be your name, not mine; Your kingdom come, not mine; your will be done, not mine.”

Could we pray the Lord’s Prayer in the same spirit of surrender and abandonment? (Fr. Louie Punzalan, SVD Bible Diary 2007)


I am to admit that I am one of those who have little patience reading long instruction manuals on how to operate new electronic items like computers, cameras and cellular phones. I’d rather ask somebody to demonstrate the operation in the simplest and shortest way possible. One reason is that I can’t hardly wait to enjoy the novelty of the item minus the hassles of knowing its complicated operation.

Seemingly, this is one way of describing many of the disciples who were around Jesus that time. They heard Jesus talking about prayer many times, and saw Him pray many times. They liked how Jesus prayed; they wanted to pray like Him. But then there was a problem. They didn’t know how to start.

Like a new electronic product, they wanted to enjoy the instant results of prayer, but they were probably too impatient,, indifferent and even lazy to learn how to pray like Jesus. They thought that they had heard enough about prayer. But to their frustration they were getting good results, coupled with difficulties in praying.  It was at this point that some of them had the courage to ask Jesus, “Lord, teach us to pray.”

As a good master and teacher to the disciples, Jesus taught them not only how to pray but also the true essence of prayer. And this is the only prayer that He ever taught His disciples, known today as the “Lord’s Prayer.”

Prayer is no easy matter. It needs a strong effort, a good preparation and even unending will. How do we pray? Do we pray expecting instant results without even exerting much effort to know and love God better? If we are praying without results it is perhaps because we are also impatient, slow and lazy to read Jesus’ “Operating instruction” on prayer, which has only one simple direction, that is, to pray with trust and faith in the living God and Father who is in heaven and that we should never give up. Today, let us examine the way we pray to God! (Fr. Gerry Donato, SVD Bible Diary 2008)


“If somebody said, give me a summary said of Christian faith on the back of an envelope, the best thing to do would be to write Our Lord’s Prayer,” (Rowan Williams).

Of all Jesus’ teachings, this prayer is by far the best known and often the most quoted. It is indeed, the one common denominator of all the Christian churches. Everyone of them, without exception, uses the Lord’s Prayer; it is perhaps the only ground upon which they all meet.

Commentators underline the fact that Jesus teaches us to begin with the word “our.” As the eminent Scripture scholar John Meier reminds us, “we experience God’s fatherhood not as isolated individuals but as members of the church, the family of Jesus the Son.” Pope Benedict XVI suggests that the word “our” requires us to “step out of the closed circle of our “I.” It requires that we surrender ourselves to communion with the other children of God.”

The greatest of all prayers invite us to experience a sense of dependence, reverence and confidence. These are qualities that characterize the relationship with God. dependence has become something of a bad word in a culture that extols autonomy. We are aware of many forms of unhealthy dependence (or “co-dependence”) that can prevent us from flourishing as persons. As disciples of Jesus, however, we stake our lives on the claim that we are truly dependent on God and that we want to grow in our awareness of this dependence. And we believe that this deepening realization is the path to freedom, to genuine autonomy and personal maturity. The great Catholic theologian Karl Rahner reminds us that dependence on God and genuine freedom grow in direct proportion. Our dependence on God is liberating rather than enslaving because God is the one who sets us free to be our best selves.

The more one analyzes the Lord’s Prayer, the more wonderful is its construction seen to be. It meets everyone need just at his own level. It provides not only a rapid spiritual development for those who are sufficiently advanced but also supplies the more simple-minded and even the more materially-minded people with just what they need at the moment, if they use the Prayer sincerely. (Fr. Devasagayam Savariyappan, SVD Bible Diary 2009)


When I forget to bring my Breviary and Bible everytime I travel I pray the Our Father meditatively. It is a complete prayer in itself during the day and for the days to come. In the Our Father we declare to God that we consider each other as brothers and sisters having one Father who is Almighty God Himself.  And that means He is our papa or our daddy (Abba). And this means that in having the same Father, we cannot afford to be indifferent towards each other.

When we say “holy be your name,” we praise His unique being who loves us absolutely and unconditionally.

When we say “your kingdom come” we plead that His kingdom of love, peace and joy reign in our hearts.

When we reach the phrase, “your will be done” we declare that we can accept and fulfil his will. Thus, because of this belief in God’s wisdom and love, He can only will what is the best for us.

The phrase “give us this day our daily bread” has different theological interpretations. But when we say it, we must remember those people who are in need of physical and spiritual food.

Once again our Lord included the importance of forgiving and being forgiven. We cannot be forgiven and we cannot enter the Kingdom of God, a Kingdom of love, if we do not forgive.

When we reach “do not bring us to the test” we must really mean it.

One time I was riding in a jeepney and there was a caption “Tukso….. ayos lang!” definitely that was not ayos (ok) because “test” means trials,  like the test of Jesus when He was in Gethsemane sweating blood. Experiencing terrible trials is a big struggle in not losing faith in God.

And in the last part, “but deliver us from all evil” we ask the Lord to free us from people or circumstances used by the devil to harm us,  lead us into sin and draw us away from God.

The Our Father is the only prayer our Lord Jesus Christ taught us and it is a perfect prayer that unites us with God and one another (Fr Titus Mananzan SVD Bible Diary 2012).


June 16, 2016 Thursday

Prayer is the attention of the heart to God. No word is spoken. Only an act of love. In the light of the Lord’s Prayer, let’s look at two signicant events that imprinted themselves in our national consciousness last year.

  1. On 15 January 2015, Pope Francis landed at Villamor Air Base, smiling, waving to the people, blessing them and was welcomed by thousands who were thrilled, awed, and overcome with joy. That glorious moment, filled with the Divine Presence, was repeatedly experienced wherever Pope Francis made an appearance in Manila or Tacloban. In the hearts of the faithful they might have prayed this: Thank you, Father, for giving me this moment when I feel your presence in my heart! Yes… ”Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as in heaven.”
  2. While Pope Francis’ arrival at the same airbase was life-giving, the arrival of the Fallen 44 was death-dealing – one of gloom, of mourning by widows, orphans, and bereaved parents. God was seemingly absent. Instead the Evil One in all its ugliness was present. The 44 valiant commandos had stood their ground, with no re-enforcements in sight, though outnumbered by two groups of rebels. At the Mamasapano corn field, they were simply brutally killed by the barbaric enemy.

Indeed, war is the work of the Evil One, the same Evil One from whom we ask in our prayer to be delivered. “Father… deliver us from the Evil One.”

May the Merciful Father forgive all who transgressed His will at Mamasapano! May all who lost their loved ones in that infamous clash forgive, in God’s own good time, the enemy who caused them their loss! Father, your kingdom come, your will be done! (Fr. Dong Alpuerto, SVD USC-Talamban, Cebu City Bible Diary 2016)


PRAYER AND CHANGE: I’m sure that once upon a time in your life, you happen to open a folded paper and the folded paper contains something like this: “Pray this prayer nine times for nine consecutive days and reproduce nine times this prayer sheet and give it to a friend. Give it to stranger and your prayer will be answered. This has always been proven effective. Do not ignore this because you are ignoring an opportunity to have your prayer answered.”

You have read something like that? Even at the EDSA Shrine sometimes pieces of paper with that prayer abound. You know when I see folded paper at the Holy Water Font, on top of the crucified Christ or under the statue of the Blessed Mother in public I tear them to pieces. I want you to see me actually tearing them to pieces because this practice is a sin. It is superstitious. That is not how Jesus taught us to pray.

For two thousand years the Lord has been telling us, do not just babble words when praying. But for two thousand years, people have believed that words of man can change God’s mind. The right number of words can change God. Words of men and women can change the heart of God. But if we were listening closely to the words of God today, what the Lord is saying is: no words of men can change God. What the Lord is saying is the Word of God has changed men. We cannot change God. If we listen to the Word of God, we would understand that the intention of the Word of God is to change us.

The first fruit of prayer is not that God changes His mind. The first fruit of prayer is that the one who prays has a change of heart. Jesus Christ has never taught us that the words of men and women like you and me can change God. Rather, what God teaches is that the Word of God is so effective that it can change even the most hardened human heart.

If this season of Lent is to be a season of prayer, at the end of Lent or even in the beginning of Lent, we must change because we prayed. Do not ask God to change because we have prayed. When we pray, we must open our heart to the Lord and let our prayer change us. (Bp. Socrates Villegas, DD Love Like Jesus pp. 134-135)




June 21, 2012

St. Aloysius Gonzaga, religious

Sir 48:1-14
Ps 97
Mt 6:7-15

The Lord’s Prayer 

[Jesus said to his disciples,] 7“In praying, do not babble like the pagans, who think that they will be heard because of their many words. 8Do not be like them. Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

9“This is how you are to pray:/ Our Father in heaven,/ hallowed be your name,/ 10your kingdom come,/ your will be done,/ on earth as in heaven./ 11Give us today our daily bread;/ 12and forgive us our debts,/ as we forgive our debtors;/ 13and do not subject us to the final test,/ but deliver us from the evil one./ 14If you forgive others their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you. 15But if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions.”


This is how you are to pray. Jesus gives the disciples what is now called the Lord’s Prayer. Besides giving, Jesus prays it with us and for us. A communal prayer, it highlights our relationship with God and with our fellow men and women. We give to God what is due to him. And then we plead for our basic needs in this life.

Jesus says we are to call God “Abba, Father!” In Aramaic, this address is an act of filial affection and familiarity. God who is in heaven is our Father whom we acknowledge as the source of our life and the gracious provider of what we need in life.

God’s name is holy. His name demands our respect and reverence. We pray that God’s will be done for us as we surrender ourselves to God’s ways.

The second half of the prayer speaks of our needs and how we must deal with our fellow men and women. This means that before we petition for our needs, we must first and foremost turn and return to God the glory, honor, and obedience due to God. We are to pray not only for our needs but also for those of others, for their well-being, and for what we can do for them.

“You received a spirit of adoption, through which we cry, ‘Abba, Father!’
The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God” (Rom 8:15-16).


The Sirach reading gives a summary of the marvels performed by the prophet Elijah as he sought to restore the tribes of Jacob. His work was continued by the prophet Elisha, who was filled with the same spirit and worked similar miracles. Both Elijah and Elisha wholeheartedly served the Lord and drew their strength and wisdom from him. When they prayed, they knew the had no power of themselves so they entrusted themselves to God.

We are prophets by the Lord by the grace of our Baptism. To be effective, we too need to know how to pray properly. We turn once more to Jesus’ great Sermon on the Mount. Yesterday we reflected on prayer, fasting and deeds of mercy, all done in secret.  Today we receive valuable instruction prayer: how not to pray, how to pray the Our Prayer, and how forgiving others open us to being forgiven by the Father.

In your prayer do not rattle like the pagans.” Since we have been following the story of Elijah, one exaggerated example of “rattling prayer” comes to mind from the story of Elijah’s  contest with the prophets of Baal (cf. last Wednesday reading). Those prophets hopped around and called out to their god all day long. They prayed louder and longer and cut themselves with swords. Of course, nothing happened because they were rattling on like pagans. At the end of the story, Elijah prayed very calmly and simply to God and his prayer was heard. Fire came down from heaven and consumed the sacrifice.

Jesus is addressing his followers, not pagans, but he warns us of the danger of our praying like pagans. The difference between “pagan prayer” and authentic Christian prayer is not the length of time but the One in whom we are placing our trust. The Pharisee in the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector is actually praying like pagan (cf. Lk 18:9-14). Christian prayer is based on faith, on what God can achieve. This is why we pray, “Your will be done.”

There are times when we may spend longer times in prayer, for example during a retreat. In fact, Jesus says, “Pray without ceasing.” But there is a big difference between a “sheer multiplication of words” and spending a long time in the presence of our Father, which sometimes does not require any words at all.

How should we pray? The essence of prayer is not words but a relationship of love with the Father. All prayer is summed up in the profound prayer Jesus teaches us, the Our Father. This is how we are to pray. We start with the knowledge that our Father knows what we need before we even ask. We are not informing him of our needs. We are not convincing him to do the right thing. He always does the right thing. When we pray, we are opening ourselves to his will, so that His Kingdom may come, so that he may reign in us.

Prayer is inseparable from forgiveness. Jesus says that if we forgive others, our Father will forgive us; if we do not forgive others, our Father will not forgive us – not because he does not want to forgive, but because we have closed the door to forgiveness. At times, when we still have a strong emotional reaction to what we have suffered, we find it very hard to forgive those who hurt us. It feels like forgiveness is impossible. But forgiveness and prayer are not based on the emotions alone. They are deep acts of the will. We can decide to forgive – or at least beg the Lord for the grace to be able to forgive – even when we feel unable to do it. But if we refuse to forgive, then when we pray the Our Father we are praying that we will not be forgiven. This is how close the link between prayer and forgiveness is.

Jesus is teaching us to pray neither like pagans nor like orphans. Let us pray like children of God, like Jesus Himself, entrusting ourselves entirely to our Father, who knows all our needs. “Father, into your hands, I commend my spirit.

What is my prayer life like? Have I set aside time each day to pray? Do I pray with faith, focusing on the Lord? When praying do I talk much and listen little? Whom do I need to forgive? Can I make the commitment at this moment to reach out to the person(s)?If not, can I pray for the will to forgive? (Pondering the Word the Anawim Way, May 27-July 7, 2012, Cycle B Year 2, June 21, 2012 pp. 146-148).


Jesus teaches about prayer.Pray like this.” Dag Hammarskjold’s journal, Markings, reveals him to be a prayer person. Although he had no declared religion, he was attracted to Christianity. He had a profound admiration for Jesus.

Hammarskjold was responsible for building the Meditation Room at the UN. One of the prayers he undoubtedly meditated on in this room was the Lord’s Prayer. His journal contains several references to it. One of the most moving reads:

“Hollowed be thy name, not mine. Thy kingdom come, not mine. Thy will be done, not mine.

What role does prayer have in our daily life? Do we have a set place and time for prayer? “Lord, help us keep in mind St. Augustine’s advice: “What we ought to pray for is in the Lord’s Prayer; what is not in it, we ought not pray for.” (Mark Link SJ, Illustrated Daily Homilies Weekdays, published 1987 p. 104)



My Reflection for Thursday June 19, Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time; Matthew 6:7-15 Reflection: How do we pray? Do we pray with a set of structured prayer such as the Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be and many other prayers? Nothing is wrong with these prayers for it brings us closer to God. What is important is, when we pray we must dive inside our prayer this means that we must be in communion with our prayer.

There is no wrong also with our spontaneous/personal prayers for these are prayers that originate deep in our hearts.  Our whole beings are within our prayer, and by doing so we establish our connection with the Good Lord.

So we know how to pray and that is very good! But let us think about the many others who do not know how to pray (There are many of them). Perhaps we can make it our mission in life to teach them how to pray and in the process introduce them to Jesus.

Let us do something about this and let us also share this prayer that was taught to us by Jesus. We become productive followers of Jesus when we pay forward whatever we know about Jesus most especially this prayer that HE taught us to pray.

Have you shared this prayer already?   (Marino J. Dasmarinas)


Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Reflection for June 16, Thursday of the Eleventh Week in OT; Matthew 6:7-15

Reflection: How important is prayer to your life? If you have five things to do everyday, is prayer included in that five?

When we pray with our heart we allow the good Lord to nourish our parched spirits. Through our prayers we also invite the good Lord to come into our life. And it’s also through our humble prayers that we slowly but surely develop our intimacy with Jesus.

In our gospel Jesus teaches us how to pray: It’s simple, short and direct and it does not beat around the bush. We must be frank, persevering and honest to Jesus for He knows what we need beforehand. We must also be sincere and always humble in prayer before our God.

For example, do we close our eyes when we pray the Our Father? Does this prayer make us sometimes cry when we pray it? Do we still kneel when we pray this prayer? These are all acts of piety that will help us have a more personal connection with Jesus.

Jesus is also reminding us to re-examine our life of prayer. For we may be just praying for the sake of praying thus it’s already without spirit and fire.

How do we pray the Lord’s prayer? Do we still pray it with all our heart and being or we simply babble it with our minds wandering somewhere else? – Marino J. Dasmarinas


NOBLE NOBEL: In life he performed wonders, and after death, marvelous deeds. – Sirach 48:14

One day, Alfred Nobel, a chemist, inventor and armaments manufacturer, read the newspaper and got the surprise of his life. Printed in bold letters in the obituary section was his name: Alfred Nobel, Inventor of Dynamite. They had mistaken him for his brother who recently died. Alfred took to heart the horror of being known and remembered for something as destructive as dynamite. So he employed his acquired wealth to establish what now is known as one of the most prized awards in the world: the Nobel Prize. Now, Alfred is remembered for his noble Nobel. I bet if he read his actual obituary again, he would have smiled.

Friend, maybe you haven’t been living life “nobly.” All of us have done things we are not proud of. The good news is, we can right what’s wrong. Just as Alfred didn’t settle for leaving a less-than-noble legacy to the world, we can make the powerful choice to change. Elisha, in the reading above, was a true disciple of his mentor, Elijah. He, too, is remembered with the greatness of his predecessor.

Recognize that God has purposed your life to be a blessing to others… not only now on earth, but even after. Fulfill your call and, by God’s grace, create the life a child of God should live. Jonathan Yogawin (

Reflection: What would you like to read in your obituary? Live today to make that happen.


1ST READING: There is nothing like watching the power of God at work in a person’s life. Miracles are spectacular and I wish we saw many more of them. However, the greatest work of God for our salvation is the work of personal conversion. This is the ongoing work in each of our lives and something that commands our daily attention. Sirach 48:1-14

GOSPEL: What matters is not the number of words we pray but their meaning and the desire with which we pray them. Too often our prayer is an empty ritual full of words that have lost their meaning. Too often we rush through our prayers to get them over and done with and we have not really prayed at all. Let us pray that our relationship with Jesus never becomes so ritualistic that it loses its meaning. Matthew 6:7-15

think:  The greatest work of God for our salvation is the work of personal conversion.


A HEAVENLY FATHER: Today, we have the form of the Lord’s Prayer according to Matthew. One might notice in the Gospel of Mathew the number of times God is mentioned as “heavenly Father.” According to Jewish custom, a common characteristic was to have a long list of words in addressing prayer to God so as to be heard. On the contrary, Jesus teaches that prayer should be a matter of simplicity and trust, because the Father knows all things.

Prayer is always addressed to the Father. One might notice in the opening prayers of the Mass the various ways God is invoked as Father: Almighty, merciful, loving, compassionate. The descriptions are endless. God is holy and His name is kept holy for all ages. By addressing God as Father and as the Holy One, we remind ourselves of the kind of Presence we find ourselves in when we pray to God. He is our awesome, mighty and omnipotent Creator. After addressing God for who He is, we make our needs known. Jesus teaches us that it is enough to ask God to give us our daily bread — all that we need for sustenance, provision in meeting our concerns for the day. After asking God for assistance, we seek forgiveness for our wrongdoing — to God, others and ourselves.

Matthew emphasizes the importance of forgiveness in the praying community. God will not listen to our prayer if we do not forgive others. God expects nothing less. He has forgiven us; we should do the same to others. The stakes are high — if we fail to forgive, God will not forgive us. It is a terrible thing to be found unforgiving in the eyes of God.

Let the Gospel today increase our trust in the heavenly Father. Perhaps our earthly father has helped us to appreciate the heavenly Father. For many, a bad relationship with their earthly fathers can affect their relationship with God as heavenly Father. The prayer of Our Lord redeems all this and reminds us of a Father who loves, knows and provides for all His children. And that is what we are called to be — children of God. Fr. Brian Steele, MGL

REFLECTION QUESTION: Pray the Our Father, one phrase at a time, and pause for a moment whenever you feel led to reflect on the phrase you have prayed.

Heavenly Father, thank You for calling me Your son/daughter. Amen.


BARGAIN LACE DRESS, ANYONE? – “Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” – Matthew 6:8

Ed drove for me to the Manila City Hall. Then he was also to bring me to my school for an alumni meeting. I finished my business at the city hall some 30 minutes earlier, so I requested Ed to stop at a mall because I needed to buy a dress with black lace accent.

“Nope,” he said firmly, “you’ll be late for your next appointment.”

Yup, my husband knew only too well it doesn’t take me only 30 minutes to buy a dress. I moped in the car, feeling dejected.

At our alumni meeting, a member brought with her dozens of garments, most of them with black lace accents! And at bargain prices! With my budget for one garment, I was able to buy a dress, two blouses, and a long skirt, plus a couple more to give as Christmas gifts.

A week after, Mandy, my sister-in-law, unaware that I needed a lace dress, gave me nine yards of black lace textile. The incident impressed upon me that, over and above my husband who knows me, I have the Father who knows my needs even before I ask for them—as promised in today’s Gospel. Cynthia U. Santiago (

Reflection: God knows what’s best for you — much, much more than a lace dress.

Lord, may I never forget that You have the very best for me — perfect and overflowing!


ABBA – There are so many stories about St. John XXIII, the “Good Pope,” who was the first to break the long tradition of having the Popes live like “prisoners” of the Vatican protocol. The “Good Pope John,” as he was fondly called, also started receiving dignitaries more often in audience. One time, he had to receive then First Lady of the United States, Madame Jacqueline Kennedy. The Pope practiced how he ought to address her formally, but when the door opened for the audience, the jolly old St. John XXIII simply  blurted: “Jackie!”

The Jews loved to show their great reverence for God by avoiding to pronounce His solemn name, the name He revealed to Moses in the burning bush. They use such titles as “Elohim,” “Adonai,” “El Elyon,” etc. Jesus tells us in today’s Gospel: Stay simple, be conversational, be spontaneous. Just say: Father… Abba… Daddy. Then enumerate what you need:

“Hallowed be Thy name” = Do great things for us today; reveal Your true Fatherhood.

“Thy kingdom come” = Be with us, be present among us.

“Thy will be done” = Give us Your guidance; tell us what You want.

“Give us this day our daily bread” = Provide for us as any good father does. We expect from You all that we need today.

“Forgive us our debts” = We are not perfect children, but You are our Father. Understand and forgive us.

“Lead us not into temptation” = We trust in You. A father wants nothing wrong for any of his children.

“Deliver us from evil.” = Be our protection and refuge.

I feel sad when people say the “Our Father” as a formula. It is reduced to another rigid, artificial and impersonal way of talking with God. The “Our Father” is a guide to construct our personal conversation with God. Fr. Domie Guzman SSP

REFLECTION QUESTIONS: What favorite and personal address do you use for God? How did you come to this way of addressing Him? What is your best time and your best place to pray with spontaneity to God?

Abba, Father, reveal Yourself more deeply to me.


PRAYER – Your Father knows what you need before you ask him. – Matthew 6:8

I was buying something online but I couldn’t complete my transaction.

I called my credit card company and a recorded message asked me to select among five options. Then it asked me to select among another four. Then enter my credit card number. Then choose among another set of options. Finally, there was an option to speak to someone! When I chose it, I was asked to wait for someone to be available to talk to me.

When I finally heard a live voice, I was asked for my credit card number and a bunch of questions to confirm it was really mine. By the time she understood and addressed my concern, I had been on the phone for 30 minutes.

Talk about a long process.

I’m so glad talking to God is not complicated. No queue, no veri-fication, no complex process just to be heard. He taught us just how easy it is to pray. Plus, He already knows exactly what we need, so there’s no need for the long drawn explanation. We are certain He understands clearly. Kitty D. Ferreria (

Reflection: How has the quality of your prayer time improved over the years?

Lord, help me establish and improve my prayer time.


THE GREAT VALUE OF THE LORD’S PRAYER – One of the observations on the new English edition of the Roman Missal, which came out some years ago, is regarding the introduction to The Lord’s Prayer. What used to be several options have been reduced to only one, which is for us the best of those former choices. It goes by a literal translation of the original Latin: “At the Savior’s command, and formed by divine teaching, we dare to say…”

It’s true. In front of the greatest Christian prayer of all, we actually have three distinct things: 1) a command of Jesus Himself; 2) a model instructing us what and how to pray to God the Father; and 3) a bold, daring act on our part. The reasons for these are as follows:

  1. There is a certain importance and urgency to the matter, such that Jesus commands us to pray. We cannot take lightly the whole business of prayer, nor can we just drag our feet.
  2. In our possible weakness and confusion, Jesus comes to our assistance by providing us with a template, an example or model for our prayer. It is not only a sample of what we can pray for (the content), but more importantly a pattern of how we are to pray (the underlying attitudes and outlooks).
  3. Come to think of it, we really do not have the right to face up to God and talk to Him head on. And so, in an attitude of humility and at the same time fortitude (a certain cheekiness or pluckiness), we marshall our guts and approach the Lord — yes, even in our weaknesses and needs.

Such then is the great value of the “Our Father.” May we ever treasure it, use it, and allow it to guide us in life. Fr. Martin Macasaet, SDB

REFLECTION QUESTION: Which part of The Lord’s Prayer has a personal significance for you?

Thank You for teaching us what to pray for and how to pray, dearest Jesus. Amen.


The School of Prayer

June 18, 2015 (readings)

Thursday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time

Father Walter Schu, LC

Matthew 6: 7-15

Jesus said to his disciples: “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 is how you are to pray: ‘Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.’ 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.”

Introductory Prayer: Lord, I believe in you. I believe that you love me, that you are close by my side, and that you will be walking with me throughout this day. I trust in you, Lord. I trust you more than I trust myself, because you are infinitely good and all powerful. I love you, Jesus. I love you because you died on the cross for me, to save me.

Petition: Lord, teach me to pray.

  1. Absolute Trust in God’s Providence:“Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” Christ’s words are an inexhaustible source of consolation and hope as they encourage us to turn constantly to our Father in prayer. “True piety is not so much a matter of the amount of words as of the frequency and the love with which a Christian turns toward God in all the events, great or small, of his day” (St. Matthew, The Navarre Bible, p. 72). But if our Father already knows our needs, why should we even present them to him in prayer? St. Augustine assures us that while we pray, God is molding our heart and soul so that we will be prepared to receive the good things he desires to give us in answer to our prayers.
  2. The Perfect Prayer:St. Augustine affirms that the Lord’s Prayer is so perfect that it sums up in a few words everything man needs to ask God for (cf.Sermon, 56). “It is usually seen as being made up of an invocation and seven petitions — three to do with praise of God and four with the needs of men” (St. Matthew, The Navarre Bible, p. 72). The first two petitions, that God’s name be sanctified among all people, and that his Kingdom may come, should touch us in the depth of our being. We are called to be apostles of that Kingdom, to spread love for Christ among our fellow men. Our apostolic zeal should be enkindled each time we pronounce those words of the Lord’s Prayer. Asking for God’s will to be done means that we seek to conform ourselves with his will in all of our thoughts and actions.
  3. Our Spiritual and Human Needs:“Give us this day our daily bread.” Even though we work to earn our daily bread with the sweat of our brow, it is still a gift from God. We ask only for what we need each day. The Church Fathers also see in this petition a request for the Eucharist, the Bread of Life. We strive to live so as to be worthy to receive the Eucharist each day. Christ then instructs us that when we ask God for forgiveness, we, too, must be willing to forgive others in the same way we ourselves are forgiven by our Father. Do I live this teaching fully in my life as a follower of Christ? Finally, we ask to be freed from temptation that is beyond our strength, and to be delivered from evil — or the Evil One. The Father is much more powerful than any temptation the devil can send against us. With what confidence and trust does Christ ask us to conclude the “Our Father!”

Conversation with Christ: Thank you, Lord, for teaching us how to pray. Thank you for the confidence and trust in our Father that your words inspire. Help me, so that the words of your own prayer may always be on my lips and in my heart.

Resolution: I will pray the “Our Father” as a colloquy with God at different moments during the day.

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THURSDAY OF THE 11TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME (YEAR B) – MATEO 6:7-15. UNSA MAN ANG SAKTONG PAMAAGI SA PAG-AMPO? Sa pag-ampo, mosangpit kita sa Dios sama sa usa ka anak nga mamarayeg sa iyang amahan. Dayegon ug pasalamatan nato ang Dios sa Iyang makanunayong pag-amping kanato. Dili kita mangayo Kaniya sa bisan unsa na lang. Igo na nga mangayo kita sa inadlaw-adlaw natong gikinahanglan aron mabuhi nga malipayon. Uban niini, pangayoon nato ang grasya nga makapasaylo kita sa isigkatawo ug malikay sa daotang binuhatan. Human sa atong pagdayeg ug pagpangayo, kinahanglan nga mogahin kita’g panahon sa paghilom ug pagpamalandong sa mga Pulong sa Ginoo. Maayo ang pahinumdum ni Frank C. Laubach: “Prayer at its highest is a two-way conversation, and the most important part is listening to God’s replies.” Posted by Abet Uy


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Reflection for June 18, Thursday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time; Matthew 6:7-15

Reflection: What is the prayer that reaches the heart of God? It’s prayer that comes from the heart.  It a prayer made in the silence of your heart. It could be a long or short prayer that comes straight from your heart.

Jesus gives us the perfect prayer called the Our Father. This is called the perfect prayer because Jesus gave it to us. Jesus Himself taught us to pray it.  Do we pray this with our hearts or we simply pray it with our minds wandering elsewhere?

Recall when you’re at Holy Mass, how do you pray the Our Father or the Lord’s Prayer? Do you Pray it with closed eyes or with open eyes? The best way to pray this perfect prayer is with closed eyes.  Because when you close your eyes you shut yourself from any form of distraction.

Deep in your heart you seek to connect with God, you hunger and thirst for this God. Most especially when you pass through moments of loneliness and disillusionment.  Why? Because God alone gives meaning to your life.

Close your eyes now and seek to connect with Jesus by silently praying the Our Father. – Marino J. Dasmarinas


Thursday of the 11th Week in Ordinary Time

Sir 48: 1-14; Mt 6: 7-15

Prayer and Prayerfulness

The advice given by Jesus before he taught the disciples how to pray is worth reflecting. Here we find the most essential quality of prayer. He tells his disciples that it is needless to use a lot of meaningless words while praying. What does Jesus mean?

Jesus’ injunction shows the central characteristic of Prayer. Prayer is essentially a disposition, an attitude, a way of life, a relationship with God, other people and the nature. Francis of Assisi once said, “Preach always, if needed use words”. In this way we can say with regard to prayer, “Pray always, if needed use words”.

To be prayerful is more important than reciting a few prayers. If we are not prayerful persons, reciting vocal prayers may not be very useful. For, we can recite any number of prayers without even thinking of God and forgetting that we are sitting in his presence. But prayerfulness means our constant awareness that we are in his presence.

–          A prayerful person will be sensitive to his relationship with others.

–          A prayerful person will be humble.

–          A prayerful person will be generous.

–          A prayerful person will be obedient, kind and compassionate.

On the other hand,

When we are focused only on vocal prayers, we may be proud, thinking “ I pray enough”.

Such persons may be arrogant and look down upon others, who may not be regular in vocal prayers.

But it should not be misunderstood that vocal prayers are not needed. Vocal prayers are needed, that is why Jesus taught it. But before one begins to pray the vocal prayers, one must make sure to grow in prayerfulness. A prayerful heart easily understands what one prays and tries to practice it. The implications of the hard condition that Jesus inserts in his prayer – to forgive others – can be understood only by prayerful hearts. Dr. Jacob Marangattu CMI


June 16, 2016

REFLECTION: Most Christians misunderstand the Our Father’s first petition, “Holy be your name,” as an indirect exhortation for us to respect God’s name, not to swear, etc. But, if we analyze this petition technically, it refers to God’s action: let your name be made holy by you.

But what does this mean? Well, first of all we have to remember that, in Hebrew thought, the name stands for one’s reputation. Secondly, the expression “sanctify the name of God” is exclusively God’s prerogative (humans can do many things to God’s name, but in the Old Testament they never sanctify it!). So we are praying here that God sanctify his name. But what does that mean? The background for this petition is found in many texts of Ezekiel in which God swears he will sanctify (make holy) his Name, which Israel has profaned; by freeing his exiled people and bring it back to Palestine. In other words, when we ask God to “sanctify his name,” we ask him to act powerfully in our human history, as many times in the past he did so in the history of Israel.

Thus the first three petitions of the Our Father express one single request: that God may transform our fallen world into a redeemed, beautiful world.


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See Today’s Readings:  Year I,   Year II

Back to: Thursday of the 11th Week of the Year

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