Jesus teaches us how to pray. He wants us to ask first that the Father’s name be praised, his reign come and his will be done.
Self-interest plays no part in Solomon’s prayer. He only asks for wisdom to reign. And the Lord does what he asks. So, Solomon knows what to pray for.
It is crucial to know how to pray; those who pray wrongly do not get what they want (Jas 4, 3). So, we need the Spirit to help us pray fully and as God wills (Rom 8, 26).
And is not the Lord’s Prayer (Mt 6, 9-13) the fullest, though strange and revolutionary? Just like Solomon’s prayer, the “Our Father” has nothing in it that is selfish.
But the “Our Father” does not even use “my” or “me” but only “our” and “us.” We pray to the Father of all humans, men and women, good and bad, from every race, tongue, nation and religion. And one asks not only for oneself but for all. There is the suggestion, yes, that we make up one people (LG 9).
God’s reign is the highest good.
The Lord’s Prayer does not only teach us to pray as we ought. It also shows us what to ask first: a foretaste on earth of the reign of heaven.
In heaven, the name of the Lord receives praise for ever. His will is always done there. And that is why there is no reason to cry there (Rev 21, 4). The reign of heaven is also the dwelling of justice and peace (2 Pt 3, 13; Is 2, 4; 11, 6-9). There, too, rich food and choice wines for all are plentiful (Is 25, 6).
In short, we ask that the Lord’s glory fills the earth (Is 6, 3; Rev 4, 8; Ps 72, 19). May from heaven there be bread on the ground (What A Good Year). So, we pray simply, “Your reign come.”
So, then, the Lord’s Prayer tells us that the reign of God is the buried treasure or the pearl of great price. The reign of heaven is the highest good. And so, those who find it gladly sell all they own to get it. As disciples, their mission is that of their Teacher: to inaugurate the reign of the Father (EG 180). Hence, they seek to further more his reign than their own possessions (SV.EN III:527). And since they care for his affairs, he cares for theirs. That is to say, they get other things besides. In the end, all things work for their good; both the new and the old come out of the storeroom.
Is it so with us? Or, does Jesus not reign in us yet (SV.EN XII:118), and so we just languish?
Lord Jesus, grant that we enjoy now on earth your reign. Make us who share in your Banquet long for your feast in heaven.
26 July 2020
17th Sunday in O.T. (A)
1 Kgs 3, 5. 7-12; Rom 8, 28-30; Mt 13, 44-52