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GOD IS OUR FATHER WHOM WE CAN APPROACH WITH CONFIDENCE

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Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time

Eccl. 48:1-14 & Mt. 6:7-15

Today's first reading is a poem in honour of Elijah, the prophet. He was truly a great man who spoke to God's people in His name. When Jesus was transfigured on the mountain, there appeared with Him both Moses who represented the Law and Elijah who represented the prophets.

Great though he was, Elijah did not have the privilege of praying to God in the manner in which Jesus taught us to pray. To Elijah, God was the Lord, the Creator of the heavens and the Earth, the protector and guide of His people with whom He had entered into a covenant of fidelity and love. Elijah had no revelation that God is actually a Father. It was left to Jesus, the eternal Son of God, to reveal that God is literally our Father. It is through Jesus that we become children of God.

Let us remember that the word Jesus used for ‘Father’ was ‘Abba’ - the equivalent of our word ‘Daddy’. Jesus wanted us to be at ease with our Father in Heaven. He wanted us to approach Him with all the love and tenderness that a little child approaches a father whom he or she trusts. Since God is so tender and loving towards us, our response to Him should contain all the affection, trust and simplicity that characterises a loving child.

In teaching us to pray Jesus did more than leave a formula. When He invited us to address God with Him as "Our Father" He opened up a whole new vision of God for us. He wanted us to see that God our Father views us as very precious and lovable simply because we are His children. God knows all our needs but Jesus teaches us to recognise those needs. Our first one is to give God His due by proclaiming His name to be holy, desiring His kingdom to come and that His will be done. Then we express our other needs of daily food; to be forgiven and to be reconciled with others; to have the strength to resist temptation; and protection from the cunning snares of Satan.

Lord Jesus, thank you for revealing this intimate news of Your Father to us. May we treasure this thought in our hearts today.

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