minn David Tanti
Papa Franġisku: “Ma nistgħux nkunu nsara part-time. Jekk Kristu Hu fiċ-ċentru ta’ ħajjitna, Hu jkun preżenti f’kull ma nagħmlu.”
Dan il-kliem huwa relevanti ħafna għalina l-insara – anke għalina li naħdmu fi ħdan il-Moviment, iktar u iktar issa li ser nagħtu bidu għal-laqgħat ta’ nhar ta’ Ġimgħa u fl-istess ħin, fid-dawl tal-Vanġelju tal-Ħadd li ġej (is-26 Ħadd tas-sena Ċ), il-Vanġelu tar-raġel sinjur u Lazzru. [pullquoteright] “Ma nistgħux nkunu nsara part-time. Jekk Kristu Hu fiċ-ċentru ta’ ħajjitna, Hu jkun preżenti f’kull ma nagħmlu.” Papa Franġisku [/pullquoteright]
B’dan il-kliem tal-Papa, li għalkemm huwa ftit, għandu tifsira importanti ħafna f’ħajjitna, għandna nifhmu li m’għandniex biss nippriedkaw u nitkellmu fuq Kristu imma rridu nħalluH ikun fiċ-ċentru ta’ ħajjitna permezz ta’ dak kollu li nagħmlu.
Fil-Vanġelu tar-raġel sinjur u Lazzru, naraw kif biex ngawdu lil Alla fl-eternita’, irridu ngħixuH f’din id-dinja. Nistgħu ngħixu lil Alla l-ħin kollu, billi nippriedkawH mhux biss bil-kliem iżda b’kull ma nagħmlu. Għalina l-insara trid tiġi naturali li kull ma nagħmlu, nagħmluh b’imħabba u mhux b’egoiżmu: waqt ix-xogħol, waqt mumenti ta’ rilassament, waqt li qed nsuqu, mal-familja, mal-barrani, mal-istramb, mal-fqir, mas-sinjur; bażikament il-ħin kollu u ma kulħadd irridu nkunu xhieda tal-imħabba ta’ Alla għalina!
Aħna u naħdmu biex inxandru ’l Ġesù nistgħu naljenaw rasna u filwaqt li nitkellmu dwar Kristu u nxandruH bil-kliem, nagħmlu l-oppost bl-għemil, anke bl-imġieba tagħna bejnietna. Għalhekk, ejja naħdmu u nitolbu ’l Alla biex inkunu kapaċi ngħixuH il-ħin kollu, u nkunu nsara full-time u mhux part-time, nsara bil-kliem u l-fatti, mhux bil-kliem biss – insara ta’ veru!
Fid-dawl ta’ dan il-kliem hija relevanti ħafna it-talba ta’ San Franġisk:
Mulej agħmilni strument tal-paċi tiegħek.
Fejn hemm il-mibgħeda, ħallini nħeġġeġ l-imħabba;
fejn hemm il-ħtija, ħallini nferrex il-maħfra;
fejn hemm id-dubju, ħallini ndaħħal il-fidi;
fejn hemm il-qtigħ il-qalb, ħallini nqawwi t-tama;
fejn hemm id-dlam, ħallini nkebbes id-dawl;
fejn hemm in-niket; ħallini nxerred il-ferħ.
La tħallix li iżjed infittex li nkun imfarraġ milli nfarraġ jien;
la tħallix li iżjed jifhimni ħaddieħor milli nifhem lil ħaddieħor jien;
la tħallix li iżjed inkun maħbub, milli nħobb jien.
Għax meta nagħtu, aħna naqilgħu. Għax meta naħfru, aħna nkunu maħfura.
Għax meta mmutu, nqumu għall-Ħajja ta’ dejjem.
The Kerŷgma Movement challenges you as a Christian. It challenges you to commit yourself openly, to Jesus. “Towards a Christian commitment in today’s society”, is not just a slogan, but it encourages us to provoke each other to be full-time Christians. Pope Francis often tells us that we cannot be part-time Christians, and through prayer and Christian formation, members of the Kerŷgma Movement should understand, accept and do God’s will in today’s society.
The work that the Movement’s members are doing in Maltese society is a walk of faith, in a reality that we are living in; in the family, the work place and also in schools. The spiritual and educational work that the Kerŷgma Movement carries out empowers our faith and gives strength to Jesus’ will for us.
I hope that you are open to live this experience with us.
May God and our mother Mary bless you.
Fr. Charles Fenech OP
This is a study about “The Lord’s Prayer” our Movement’s theme for this year.
[pullquoteright]Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Matthew 6:9–13 [/pullquoteright]
Jesus then goes on and tells his disciples how they should pray. He teaches them, in effect, what we now call the Lord’s Prayer, or the ‘Our Father’. We have become accustomed to reciting this prayer very often – at every Mass, whenever we say the Rosary and at many other times.
The prayer in this form (Luke has a shorter version) contains seven petitions. Seven is a favourite number for Matthew. In listing the genealogy of Jesus he divides it into three lists of seven (chap. 1); there were probably seven Beatitudes in the original text (chap. 5); there are seven parables of the Kingdom (chap. 13) and forgiveness is to be offered not seven times but 77 times (chap. 18); there are seven ‘Alas’ when denouncing the Pharisees (chap. 23). Finally, the gospel itself is divided into seven main sections (Infancy, five discourses, passion).
The text of the Lord’s Prayer should not be seen as just a formula for vocal recitation. It is, rather, a series of statements and petitions in which we affirm our relationship with God, with the people around us and with the world in general. It is a statement of faith and it is, as we shall see, a highly challenging and, therefore, even rather dangerous prayer.
Let us take a brief look at the petitions one by one.
1. Our Father:
The challenge and the danger begin right in the first two words. We address God as Father, the source of life and of everything that we have; we have nothing purely of our own. But God is not just ‘Father’; he is ‘our‘ Father. And that ‘our’ includes every single person who lives or has ever lived on this earth; not a single person can be excluded.
In addressing God as ‘our Father’ we are acknowledging that every human person, including myself, is a child of God and therefore that we all belong to one huge family where we are all, in a very real way, brothers and sisters to each other. There is no room here for rejection, or hatred, or prejudice or contempt of any kind based on race, nationality, colour of skin, gender, sexual orientation, social class, religion… If I am not prepared to accept every single person as a brother or sister, I will have problems even beginning to say this prayer.
2. May your name be held holy:
Other forms are ‘Hallowed be thy name’ or ‘Holy be your name’. Of course, God’s name is holy no matter what we say or think. We make this prayer for our sake more than for his. Here we are praying that God’s name be held in the deepest respect by people everywhere. That is not the case: some people despise his name and others do not even know it. We pray that the whole world will know God’s name, which is to say, to know and recognise God as their God and Lord, their Creator and Conserver and the final end of their lives on this earth. It is, in fact, another form of the next petition.
3. Your kingdom come:
We have already spoken about the nature of the kingdom. It might be more accurate to say, ‘Your kingship come’. In other words, we pray that every person in our world may put themselves consciously and willingly under the kingship and lordship and the love of God. We do this, above all, by our working together to make this world the kind of place that God wants it to be – a place of truth and love, of justice and peace, of sharing and caring. In one sense, of course, God is Lord irrespective of our relationship to him. But it is clearly his will that people, on their part, should accept that loving lordship as the centre of their lives. And that is the work of the Church and of every single Christian, indeed of every person anywhere – to help people recognise the kingship and lordship of God and to accept it as the key to their present and future happiness.
4. Your will be done on earth – as in heaven:
This, in a way, is simply another way of saying what we have already asked for in the previous two petitions. For that is the will of God that people everywhere recognise the holiness of his name and submit themselves gladly to his kingship and lordship in our world. We do that most effectively by identifying totally with the mission and work of Jesus to bring life, healing and wholeness to our world. To do the will of God is not simply to throw aside what we want and accept God’s will even when it is totally contrary to our own. We are only fully doing God’s will when we can see clearly that what he wants is always what is the very best for us. And we are only fully doing his will when we fully want what he wants, when our will and his will are in perfect harmony. Then we do what he wants and we do what we want. We are praying here to reach that level of oneness.
5. Give us today our daily bread:
It does not look like it but this also is a highly dangerous prayer for us to make. First of all, we are only asking for what we need now. Later in the Sermon on the Mount Jesus will tell us not to be anxious about the future. We are asking for what we need today; tomorrow is another day. We take care of one day at a time.
But there is one little word here that is highly dangerous. It is the word ‘us’. Who is that ‘us’? Just me and my immediate family? or my parish? or my neighbourhood or my town or my country? Surely it is the same as that ‘our’ in the first petition – it includes every single person. I am praying, therefore, that every single person have bread to eat today. We know, of course, that there are millions of people (some of them in rich countries) who do not have enough to eat or who suffer from malnutrition and poorly balanced diets. In praying that all of ‘us’ have our daily bread, are we expecting God to drop manna from the skies or are we not reminding ourselves that the feeding of brothers and sisters is our responsibility? If people are hungry or badly fed, it is not God’s doing; human beings are responsible in most cases (outside of natural disasters).
This petition prayer can also include the Bread of the Eucharist. But in sharing that Bread together we are saying sacramentally that we are a sharing people and we will share our goods and blessings with others, especially those in need. Otherwise our Eucharist becomes a kind of sacrilege.
6. And forgive us our debts, as we have forgiven those who are in debt to us.
Again is this not another dangerous prayer to make? We are asking that God’s forgiveness to us be conditional on our readiness to forgive those we perceived to have hurt us in some way. That is a daring thing to do. And forgiveness does not simply mean uttering a few words. Forgiveness in the
Scripture always includes reconciliation between offender and offended. In fact, I would go even further and say that the fully Christian person is never offended, cannot be offended. The true Christian has a rock solid sense of their own security and their own inner worth which no other person can take away. When such a person is the recipient of some attack, be it verbal or physical, their first response is to reach out to the attacker with concern and sympathy. It is the attacker who has the problem, not the one attacked. Most of us have a long way to go to reach that level of inner peace. ‘If what you say about me is true, I accept it; if it is false, then it is false. Why should I take offence?
7. And do not put us to the test, but save us from the evil one (or from evil).
In the end, we acknowledge our weaknesses and our total dependence on God’s help. We pray that we will not find ourselves in a situation where we fall seriously. We ask to be protected from the powers of evil with which we are surrounded.
Some texts conclude with “For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory for ever. Amen”, which is used by many Christian denominations and is now included in the Catholic Eucharist after the Lord’s Prayer but separated by a prayer for peace. It is believed that this conclusion, not found in most MS., was introduced for liturgical reasons.
Finally, in addition to simply reciting this prayer in the rapid way we normally do, we could sometimes take it very slowly, one petition at a time and let its meaning sink in. Or we could just take one petition which is particularly meaningful to us at any time and just stay with it until it really becomes part of us.
“I wanted to tell you this, to tell you: courage, go forward, make noise. Where there is youth, there should be noise. Then, we’ll adjust things, but the dreams of a young person always make noise. Go forward! In life there will always be people with proposals to curb, to block your way. Please, go against the current. Be courageous, courageous: go against the current.”― Pope Francis (address to Youths from the Diocese of Piacenza – 28.08.13)