The Enfleshed Answer to the Prayer the Lord Has Put on our Lips, Eleventh Thursday (II), June 19, 2014

Fr. Roger J. Landry
Mater Ecclesiae College, Greenville, RI
Thursday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time, Year II
Votive Mass of the Eucharist (for the universal feast of Corpus Christi)
June 19, 2014
Sir 48:1-14, Ps 97, Mt 6:7-15

To listen to an audio recording of this homily, please click below: 

 

The following points were attempted in the homily: 

  • On Sunday, as we celebrated the Solemnity of the Blessed Trinity, we pondered how God is a loving communion of persons who has not only created us in his image and likeness but wants us to enter into that loving communion with him and through with and in him with others.
  • Today Jesus teaches us how to enter into that communion by prayer. He wants to have us share in his relationship with the Father, inspired by the Holy Spirit. But these aren’t just words about prayer. The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that we live as we pray and live as we pray (CCC 2725). So Jesus indicates to us a Christian’s fundamental attitudes of life.
  • For us as priests and consecrated women, however, these fundamental attitudes are constitutive of our life. As we pray for them, God answers those prayers — or at least wants to — by having us incarnate the response. We can take each of the items for which Jesus teaches us to pray and look at how we’re supposed to embody them for the entire Church.
  • Divine filiation and the family community that flows from it indicated by the “Our Father.” It begins with our filiation within Jesus, who wants us to pray to his Father and ours together with him. And once we really pray together to the Father our community life flows from it. We don’t pray alone. We don’t live individualistically. We don’t work as lone rangers. We do it in communion. Just like the family is a domestic Church so our rectories, our convents, our colleges and community houses are meant to be ecclesiolas as well. The presbyterium and consecrated communities are supposed to be signs of this authentic fraternity in prayer and life that flows from our being sons and daughters of the one Father of us all.
  • God’s glory — We pray for God’s exaltation, not our own, for his name to be hallowed rather than for us, like Shem in the Old Testament, to make a name for ourselves. Our whole life is meant to point to God’s glory, which happens, according to St. Ireneus, when we become ugly alive by the vision of God in ordinary things.
  • God’s kingdom — Our whole life is meant to be eschatological, pointing to Christ’s kingdom that is “among” us and even “within” us. God’s kingdom is where God exists, is alive, and reigns. We’re not interested in building our own fiefdom, but rather in letting him reign. We proclaim that Jesus is King of our love in chastity, lord of our hearts in poverty, treasuring his kingdom, and Lord of our will, in holy obedience.
  • God’s will — Together with Jesus we pray, “thy will be done” instead of “my will be done.” Our whole life is meant to be a “fiat” in response to God’s word. In an age of exaggerated freedoms and a desire for autonomy, we seek, like Christ, to be obedient until the end so that we may be perfected through that intense listening (ob-audire).
  • In order to help us seek God’s glory, kingdom and will, Jesus taught us the last our petitions, which correspond not only to our needs but also to what we represent.
  • Give us today our super substantial (epi-ousios) bread — First, we manifest our trust in God’s providence in generously giving us all we really need, every day. But as the early saints of the Church indicate, the “super substantial bread” points to the Eucharist. Jesus is the daily Manna. He is what our souls need. The consecrated life, the priestly life, are meant to be intensely Eucharistic lives.
  • Forgive us our trespasses just as we have forgiven those who have trespassed against us — Our life is meant to be one of mercy, received and shared.
  • Lead us not into temptation — Every temptation is a test that we can pass or fail. When we pass, we grow in strength. In the consecrated life and the priesthood, though, we are also able to become signs that inspire others to pass the tests of similar temptations. The desert of temptation today is not so much a place as a space and the tests are materialism, hedonism, individualism, for which our poverty, chastity and obedience show the whole world how to respond.
  • Deliver us from the evil one — Sharing in Mary’s enmity in rejecting Satan, his evil works and empty promises. We are called to be living proof that it is possible with Christ to share in his triumph over the devil and his wiles even here.
  • Our whole life is meant to be the incarnation of the life flowing from this prayer. We’re the ones sent out to show the beauty of this life in union with the Father, in union with Jesus as he glorifies his Father and establishes his kingdom and does his will.
  • As we celebrate this votive Mass of the Holy Eucharist in union with Pope Francis and all those celebrating Corpus Christi in various parts of the world, we finish by remembering that it is the Mass in which we express most powerfully both our filiation in union with Christ the Son as well as our Christian fraternity in him. It’s here that we glorify his name together with Christ who began the Last Supper seeking to glorify the Father and reveal the Father’s glory to us. It’s here that his kingdom comes on earth as we receive the King into our chapel and into our own personal temple. It’s here that we seek to do his will as we do this in memory of him. It’s here that we receive our supersubstantial nourishment for our souls, where we receive the blood mercifully shed for the remission of sins, where we’re strengthened against temptations and where we’re delivered from the evil one by entering into full communion of prayer and life with Jesus.

The readings for today’s Mass were: 

Reading 1
SIR 48:1-14

Like a fire there appeared the prophet Elijah
whose words were as a flaming furnace.
Their staff of bread he shattered,
in his zeal he reduced them to straits;
By the Lord’s word he shut up the heavens
and three times brought down fire.
How awesome are you, Elijah, in your wondrous deeds!
Whose glory is equal to yours?
You brought a dead man back to life
from the nether world, by the will of the LORD.
You sent kings down to destruction,
and easily broke their power into pieces.
You brought down nobles, from their beds of sickness.
You heard threats at Sinai,
at Horeb avenging judgments.
You anointed kings who should inflict vengeance,
and a prophet as your successor.
You were taken aloft in a whirlwind of fire,
in a chariot with fiery horses.
You were destined, it is written, in time to come
to put an end to wrath before the day of the LORD,
To turn back the hearts of fathers toward their sons,
and to re-establish the tribes of Jacob.
Blessed is he who shall have seen you
And who falls asleep in your friendship.
For we live only in our life,
but after death our name will not be such.
O Elijah, enveloped in the whirlwind!Then Elisha, filled with the twofold portion of his spirit,
wrought many marvels by his mere word.
During his lifetime he feared no one,
nor was any man able to intimidate his will.
Nothing was beyond his power;
beneath him flesh was brought back into life.
In life he performed wonders,
and after death, marvelous deeds.

Responsorial Psalm
PS 97:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7

R. (12a) Rejoice in the Lord, you just!
The LORD is king; let the earth rejoice;
let the many isles be glad.
Clouds and darkness are round about him,
justice and judgment are the foundation of his throne.
R. Rejoice in the Lord, you just!
Fire goes before him
and consumes his foes round about.
His lightnings illumine the world;
the earth sees and trembles.
R. Rejoice in the Lord, you just!
The mountains melt like wax before the LORD,
before the Lord of all the earth.
The heavens proclaim his justice,
and all peoples see his glory.
R. Rejoice in the Lord, you just!
All who worship graven things are put to shame,
who glory in the things of nought;
all gods are prostrate before him.
R. Rejoice in the Lord, you just!

Gospel
MT 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.”