Feb. 16, 2016 Tuesday: Divine Mercy Week 3
Little Timmy had a pet peeve; he did not like to go to church because of the long prayers that the priest said throughout the mass. The prayers seemed to go on and on. When Little Timmy found out that his mom invited the priest for dinner, he was not happy. To Timmy’s surprise and delight, the priest simply prayed, "Bless us, O Lord, and these, Thy gifts, which we are about to receive from Thy bounty. Through Christ, our Lord. Amen." Little Timmy couldn’t help but notice how short it was. So he said to the priest, “Father, you don’t pray so long when you’re hungry, do you?”
We don’t impress Jesus by the length of our prayers. More is not necessarily better. Jesus said in today’s Gospel, “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.” How we pray says much about our relationship with God, yet it doesn’t mean that we need to use many words. It is through our prayer that we connect with God, the one who created us and loves us beyond description. Prayer is how we express thanks and praise; it’s how we give glory to God, and how we seek God’s help. A powerful example of a relationship through prayer was shown to us this past weekend.
Did you watch Pope Francis celebrate mass this past Saturday at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City. After giving the homily, Pope Francis sat on a chair facing the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe and simply gazed at the image in silent prayer for over five minutes. A hush descended on the 10,000 people inside the basilica and the 30,000 people outside the basilica. In that silence, we witnessed the Pope’s great love for Blessed Mother and her Son. Like Juan Diego, a humble son was gazing with trust and love at his mother and the mother gazing with love and mercy back at her son. I wonder if the Pope knew that he was teaching us how to pray?
Pope Francis said, “Prayer changes us, [changes] our heart. It helps us better understand our God. This is why it is important to speak with the Lord.” May we not be discouraged when we are distracted in our prayers. As Jesus taught us, the focus of our prayer is to gaze upon our Heavenly Father, Abba, who sees our hearts and listens to our prayers with great compassion.
-Fr. Paul Yi