Today’s Gospel passage is bookended by references to the Father in heaven. This gives us an insight into the meaning of prayer, which is less a set of words than it is an expression of a relationship.
Jesus’s entire being was directed to the Father to whom he would give everything, even his life, to do the Father’s will. From this orientation, Jesus is able to pray and know that his prayer is heard. When Jesus teaches his disciples to pray, he hands on not only the words that will become one of our treasures but also the relationship that he has with the Father. In Jesus, we, too, can call God our Father and have faith in the Father’s abundant goodness.Prayer expresses and nurtures that intimate relationship with Christ who serves not as gatekeeper to the Father but as the very heart of God. Click To Tweet
Theologian Mark Searle described Christian prayer this way: “In thinking of Christ’s mediatorial role, therefore, we should not think of Christ as coming between us and God, as a go-between accentuating our continuing distance from God even as he bridges it. Rather we come to God in Christ, where Christ is the holy ground, the very place of encounter, the way into the abyss of the mystery of God” (Called to Participate: Theological, Ritual, and Social Perspectives, p. 41).
Prayer expresses and nurtures that intimate relationship with Christ who serves not as gatekeeper to the Father but as the very heart of God.
This post was first published in “GIA Quarterly: A Liturgical Music Journal.”
Image credit: Photo by m.kucova.
Read more reflections on the Sunday readings here:
- Three liturgical tools
- More than just religious words
- Liturgy is bigger than us
- Opening our lives to the stranger
- The meaning of prayer