March 7, 2017
Tuesday of the First Week of Lent
The Gospel Today
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 men their transgressions,
your heavenly Father will forgive you.
But if you do not forgive men,
neither will your Father forgive your transgressions.”
REFLECTION (Sem. Glicerio T. Tano)
The example of what Christian prayer should be like contrasts it now not with the prayer of the hypocrites but with that of the pagans. Their babbling probably means that they are reciting long list of divine names, hoping that they will force a response from their deity. In the Gospel, we are taught how to pray properly.
As I look back on my childhood I remember having a friend who is a son of my neighbor. We used to play in front of the chapel near our house. There were many old ladies having their gatherings there every weekend. Every time they had gatherings in the chapel, we would imitate what they were doing. Until one day when my friend to our home, we kneeled in front of our altar and said the words that we had learned from the old ladies. We were not serious at that moment because we were just playing. We were seen by my father, and before I slept that night, he taught me how to make the sign of the cross and to say words that with the hand gesture. It was a very exciting moment when he held my hands and guided to make a proper sign of the cross. If I am not mistaken, he only taught me three times. After knowing how to do it myself, I kept doing it until I mastered it. I got used to do it before and after meals, before and after sleeping, and during many other activities that I do every day. When I started to go to school, I brought that habit. But when I saw my classmates not doing it, I became ashamed of that habit. I felt different from them and, because of my fears that they will reject me, I stopped doing it. When I grew up and had enough knowledge to understand life however, I humbly restored that habit. As I reflect on this childhood experience, I realized that we are very lucky that there are many people around us that are willing to help and teach us to do what is right.