Reflection for Thursday, June 18, 2020: 11th week in Ordinary Time.

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Howard, Joan
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2020-06-18
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en_US
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And So We Pray…|According to the Liturgical Calendar we are in the season of 'Ordinary Time'.  However, there is nothing ordinary about these times.  We are in the midst of a pandemic of Coronavirus,|COVID-19.  Hundreds of thousands around the world have the disease and hundreds of thousands have died from it.  Hospitals around the world have been overwhelmed while medical professionals and first responders work around the clock.  Attempting to protect their families from this deadly disease many have chosen not to return home after their long and grueling shifts.  Citizens of affected countries have been cautioned to wear face masks when leaving their homes – otherwise stay at home.|Just recently, many of our larger cities have been experiencing protests, some have turned violent: destruction of property, rioting, shootings and death.  In these times of social, political and racial unrest there is much need for genuine and sincere dialogue…..and prayer.|In today's gospel Jesus instructs his disciples how to pray – the manner and attitude of prayer. To pray in solitude and in private.  Not to "heap up empty phrases".  Quantity does not equal quality. Jesus' disciples have watched numerous times as Jesus has gone to the mountain to pray, to be alone with his Father.  They know that Jesus has a strong and significant relationship with his Father. They are one. Jesus says, "…if you know me, then you know my Father."  Jesus teaches his disciples the words of prayer, but he can't guarantee a rich and intimate relationship with the Father.  They must do that privately and in relationship with their Father.|Jesus does share with them that his Fatheris also their Father; "Our Father…".  The Fatheris to be honored and praised, "hallowed", revered.  The Father's "kingdom" is coming – in the Father'stime, and we are part of the Father's kingdom.  Jesus encourages and allows that the Father is approachable, "Give us this day our daily bread.  And forgive us our debts…".  We are encouraged to ask for protection: "…Do not bring us into the time of trial, but rescue us from the evil one."|This is no ordinary prayer.  There are no excess words or empty phrases.  Beautiful, meaningful, intimate words and sentiment.  It seems very appropriate for us today.  What is the 'daily bread" I need to get through today? Some families need food, others need shelter, others need employment and many need medical treatment.  Parents, grandparents, caregivers, at their wits end having to be parent and teacher to children out of school, may need patience and creativity to get through their day.  Teenagers who, by nature, crave and require socialization for healthy physical and psychosocial development are held back from socializing with their friends.  We as humans are born "skin hungry".  As newborns we need to be nestled to our parents' breasts. Ordinarily, we see teenagers as they need to be – hanging out with friends, holding hands, girls fixing each other's hair. High fiving and back slapping. Gathering for sports. All natural and proper.  The unemployed may feel a loss of self-worth and pride.  Possibly those who die alone in hospitals feel abandoned and their love ones who can't visit may suffer overwhelming grief and maybe guilt.  People plead how much more can we take?|These are not ordinary times and this prayer, The Our Father, the Lord's Prayer is no ordinary prayer.  This prayer, these words are invitational into a deep and intimate relationship with our Father.  Jesus is encouraging us to go to our Father, praise Him, confide in Him, and ask for our daily bread – whatever it might be for today.  Jesus and his Father are suffering with and among us.  Jesus wept at the prospect of having to leave his beloved friends.  Overlooking Jerusalem, Jesus wept, aware of the many he had not touched.  For the ones who did not know him.  For those suffering, hungry for their daily bread and not knowing who or how to ask.  And yet, Jesus and our Father dwell among us.  What do I need to get through today?  How am I encountering Jesus and his Father in my life today? How and what was I fed?  Where and how was I protected from evil and harm?  Where and how was I aware of a loving presence surrounding and protecting me.  These are not ordinary times, but we have an extra-ordinary prayer and we are living in the extra-ordinary compassion, love and abiding presence of Jesus and his Father, Our Father. Let Us Pray…
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University Ministry, Creighton University.
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These reflections may not be sold or used commercially without permission. Personal or parish use is permitted.
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