Our Father: Examined

Our Father: Examined

Dear friends in Christ,

  Have you ever noticed that the “Our Father” is made up of seven petitions? The version of the “Our Father” in our Gospel this Sunday is from St. Luke, but the more complete form and the one we habitually use comes from the Gospel of St. Matthew. In that version, the first three petitions are about God and heaven (1. hallowed by thy name, 2. thy kingdom come, 3.thy will be done); the last three petitions are about us and our earth (1. forgive us our trespasses, 2. lead us not into temptation, 3. deliver us from evil).

  But what about the petition in the middle: “give us this day our daily bread”? The adjective before “bread” that we often translate as “daily” is in the original Greek ẻπιούσιος, which literally means: super-essential, or “more than essential”, and which can be translated as “the bread which is more than enough for today”, or “the bread for today and tomorrow”!  This petition “in the middle” is just in the right place: it bridges heaven and earth because Jesus tells us to ask at the same time for our “daily bread”, the essential for every day, but also for something more, “more than essential”. We ask for our earthly bread, but we also ask for our heavenly bread, the Eucharist, which is Jesus himself, the Bread of Life.

  Jesus knows that in our lives we humans are kind of walking a tight rope: we need earthly food, we all know that. But we also know that this is not enough: we aren’t like animals that just live the present moment. We also need another kind of food that gives us security, hope, happiness. Jesus gives us that in the gift of himself in the Eucharist.

  May our presence and our participation at Sunday Mass become more and more important for us as we say: “give us this day our daily bread”.

God bless you and your families, Fr. Bruce Wren, L.C.

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