A Lenten Renewal:
Reflections on the Mass readings in light of our daily lives
By Mother Marie Julie, SCMC
My Dear Good People,
In today’s Gospel Reading at Mass from Mt 6:7-15 Jesus teaches us how to pray. Praying should be simple, but it can be hard, sometimes. I think of the story of the little child who called out from his bedroom to his father one night,
Daddy, I’m scared. I’m all alone in this dark.
His dad called back,
Don’t be scared. God is right there in your room with you. He’ll take care of you.
The little one called back in a tiny voice,
But Daddy, tonight I need somebody with skin on.
Maybe that’s why praying may not be our favorite thing to do, especially when we’re desperate. He seems so far away, so unavailable. Maybe we do need somebody with skin on.
Our Father knew that, so He sent us Jesus. He sent Him in human guise, just like us, with real skin. Jesus taught His followers many things, among them how to pray. The Our Father, which we hear in today’s Gospel, has become so familiar that we might rattle it off without much thought. But in the dark, even the first two words can be very comforting. Our Father. If Jesus called God Our Father, that means He, Jesus, is our brother, and He shares His Father with us.
We can be sure of this: when that father heard his son’s plaintive cry that he needed someone with skin on, he went right into the bedroom and lay with his little boy until he fell asleep. That’s what loving dads do. Would our loving Father do less? The next time you are alone in the dark, in the storm, in the wilderness, in the confusion of a world gone awry, call out to Him. Either He will come, or He will send His Son to you, the Son with skin on. Ask Him to lie with you. To walk with you. To take your hand, even to carry you. No matter how old you are, or how many miles you’ve traveled by yourself, even if you’ve been away in a far country for a long time working for strangers, see Him opening His arms to you.
Our Father Who art in heaven, come down to me.
I need you here with me in this hour. Lie beside me in this dark.
Calm my fears, my worries. I’ll say the rest of the prayer tomorrow.
For tonight, this dark and stormy night, it’s enough for me to whisper,
I trust You because I know You love me, even in spite of myself. Amen.