July 29, 2007
ORDINARY 17 (C)
When you pray, say: Father, Hallowed be your name. – Luke 11: 2
The Lord’s Prayer consists of 5 petitions, but we need to appreciate that the remaining 4 depend upon the 1st. We may say “What’s in a name?” but for the Hebrews everything was in the name. For them a person’s name reflected the core of his being. Moreover, we are not praying that God be hallowed, for He is already the ‘Holy One.’ We are asking that His name be hallowed FOR US, that God may be acknowledged as holy by everyone, that we will revere God as God & let God be God.
The one unconditional requirement that God makes on all of us is that we acknowledge that He is God & we are not. When we refuse to do this we cut ourselves off from the source of life itself, our humanity is diminished & ultimately we are destroyed. We are dead spiritually. When we refuse to hallow God in every area of life, both individually & corporately, we cut ourselves off from the only Source of the fulfillment we seek.
There is the story of a little girl who went to summer camp for the first time. She was seated on the edge of her bunk, crying. Her counselor came in & said, “What’s the matter, are you homesick?” “No,” the little girl replied, “I’m here-sick.” Many these days are both homesick & here-sick. We’re sick of hearing how sick we are & how sick the world is. We’re sick of hearing about rising crime rates & violence. Yet, we seem to just fiddle around on the surface of things & wonder why things aren’t getting any better. The heart of the matter is our unwillingness to acknowledge God as the God of all life & we are not.
All of us have disaster areas in our life where we are not hallowing God’s name. It may be a relationship with a brother or sister or parent or husband or wife or child or neighbor. We demand to have it our way & refuse to let God have it His way. The diminishment & destruction of our humanity is right there – in the marriage, in the home, in the market-place & even in the Church.
There is the story of a priest who played a round of golf with a perfect stranger one Saturday morning. When they came to the 18th hole, the stranger said, “I enjoyed playing with you. Would you like to join me for another round tomorrow morning?” Priest: “I’m afraid I cannot. I work on Sunday mornings.” Still unaware that his golfing partner that day was a priest, the stranger asked, “What do you do on Sunday mornings?” To which the priest replied, “I’ve been asking myself that question for many years!” That’s a question all of us need to ask ourselves. Are we ready to submit our individual Lives & our corporate life as a Christian community to God’s scrutiny – knowing that whatever we do or do not do either hallows God’s name or profanes it?
In the coming week, let us make it our prayer that nothing we do will profane God, but hallow Him. If we can make this an important part of our life, then when we make that first petition in the Our Father we can say it because we mean it. It’s a matter of spiritual life or death! AMEN!