Today we celebrate the Twenty-Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time. We welcome Father Randy Kelly who will be the Presider for the 4:00 PM Saturday liturgy. I really appreciate Father Randy’s willingness to cover for Father Jim who will be returning later Saturday from The National Meeting of the FDLC (Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions). It is always a pleasure to have Father Randy present for Eucharist and to hear his encouraging and challenging words as he breaks open the Scriptures for us. I know you will give him a warm welcome.
This weekend’s Gospel account is Luke’s version of the Lord’s Prayer. When the disciples notice Jesus praying and then see that he is finished, they ask him: “Lord, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples.” So, Jesus gives them a model for prayer. The Lord’s Prayer is one of those prayers all of us knows by rote. Most Christians pray it daily, as part of their personal spirituality: whether as a single prayer, as intentional prayer in union with the Holy Father’s Intentions, as part of Mass, as part of the rosary, when taking Holy Communion to the sick or homebound, or simply by praying it with another who is sick or near death. Any of us who has ever prayed with one who has been in and out of consciousness (or who may have some form of dementia) can testify to how deeply this prayer is ingrained into their memory. Suddenly, out of nowhere, the person either mouths the words or prays them aloud with us. All of us learn something important from the Lord’s Prayer when we desire to pray in our own words. Sometimes we find ourselves praying a prayer of praise, thanksgiving, intercession, or lamentation. The Lord’s Prayer teaches us to praise God for who he is: Our Father in heaven, whose name is holy, whose kingdom will come, who gives us everything we need. It teaches us to pray in thanksgiving for eternal life (thy kingdom come), for knowing his will and doing it. It teaches us intercessory prayer: asking God for our daily needs, seeking forgiveness for our sins (as we forgive others theirs), and asking to be delivered from temptation and evil. Finally, when we are hurting, or in deep pain, it teaches us how to pray a lamentation which always ends with hope, and praise or thanksgiving: deliver us from evil, the evil that surrounds us, the evil that has touched our lives, the evil that has wounded us). Believing that God will do just that, we pray again, “Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.” This week, as we reflect upon the Lord’s Prayer, perhaps we could pray or write prayer with a bit more detail. What is the daily bread we need? For what do we need forgiveness? To whom do we need to extend forgiveness? From what temptation or evil do we need to be delivered?
Earlier in my article, I mentioned the FDLC. Father Jim is a member of FDLC by virtue of his role in our diocese as Director of the Office of Liturgy and he is also a board member of FDLC. In case you are wondering what the FDLC is all about, here is a quote from their website. “The Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions was initiated by the Bishops’ Committee on the Liturgy (BCL) in October, 1969, after it hosted several informal meetings of the chairs and secretaries of diocesan liturgical commissions to prepare for the imminent arrival of the first English-language Roman Missal. The FDLC remains a national organization composed of members of diocesan liturgical commissions and directors of worship offices (or comparable diocesan structures) duly appointed or established by their local bishops. Its members may also include others who support the liturgical life of parishes, universities, or other Catholic institutions.” The FDLC embraces the vision of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy. That Constitution, flowing from the Second Vatican Council, mandated reform and renewal of the liturgy along with the establishment of diocesan liturgical commissions as a means to assist, serve, and advise the local bishop in the areas of music, liturgy, and art. There is strong collaboration between the diocesan bishops (as well as the USCCB as a whole) and the FDLC. One of their roles is to be a trusted and credible voice in the work of liturgical renewal by serving the clergy and the faithful in the United States by providing leadership, scholarship, and resources to aid in the authentic implementation and celebration of the liturgy. One of the most recent ways in which the church has benefited from the FDLC is through the workshops on the new Rite of Matrimony that have been taking place throughout the country. Father Jim is one of those making presentations throughout the country and in several of the Michigan dioceses.
Blessings on your week!
Sister Chris Gretka, CSJ