"I Sought the Lord and He Answered Me"

Homily for Tuesday, First Week of Lent

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Isaiah 55:10-11

Psalm 34:4-5, 6-7, 16-17, 18-19
Matthew 6:7-15

Today’s psalm is an invitation to join the psalmist in prayer, to glorify God and to trust in God. God, the psalmist tells us, hears the cry of the poor and of the just. He is close to them and saves them. Even before we seek the Lord, he is seeking us and watching over us.

Isaiah teaches us that God’s Word accomplishes his will without fail. When we read this passage in the light of Jesus Christ, we know that Jesus is the Word who is sent out to mankind. Jesus told his disciples that his food is to do the will of the Father. Jesus does what is pleasing to the Father. In the Garden, Jesus offers to do the will of the Father (Matthew 26:29). The will of the Father was that Christ die in such a way as to obtain the definitive and complete victory over death itself. «By means of death, [Christ] conquered death by offering himself as the supreme gift of love» (Vanhoye, Let Us Confidently Welcome Christ Our High Priest, 60).

The will of the Father was that Jesus gather the lost tribes of Israel and not lose any of those the Father entrusted to him. This is a fulfillment of the covenants made with Abraham, Moses and David.

The Lord’s prayer is the prayer of the New Covenant and acknowledges both our adoptive sonship and God’s holiness that we are called to share in as sons and daughters of the Father. The petition concerning the Kingdom recalls the mission of the Word. Jesus preached that the Kingdom was near and in the Eucharist, the Kingdom is really in our midst. At the same time, the petition refers primarily to the final coming of the reign of God through Christ’s glorious return.

When we pray: «Thy will be done», we refer to God’s eternal plan of salvation. We ask the Father to give us the grace and strength to carry out, like Jesus, the Father’s loving will. His will is that we be holy and share in his knowledge and love for all eternity.

The petition for bread is both material and spiritual. Above all, though, we ask for the Bread of Life: «the Word of God accepted in faith, the Body of Christ received in the Eucharist» (CCC, 2835). We have life through the Body of Christ and share a foretaste of the Kingdom to come. We beg for God’s forgiveness and mercy when we have sinned and ask that he let us not yield to the temptations of the evil one.

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Jason Mitchell

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