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Saturday, 25 October 2014

Dated, But Excellent from Father Paul Sciberras, Malta

Thursday, 23 October – Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time 2014
Ephesians 3:14-21; Psalm 32; Luke 12:49-53

Transforming prayer
The Danish philosopher, theologian, poet, social critic, and religious author Søren Kierkegaard, once wrote that prayer doesn’t change God; it changes us who pray. We don’t pray to God to get him on our side. Prayer transforms us into listeners to God’s heartbeat. Prayer facilitates our easing into God’s will. If this is so, then what Saint Paul expresses with utmost care and love towards the Ephesian Church is of extreme importance to each and every one of us. Kneeling before the Father, Saint Paul prays that “through his Spirit ... you will grasp the breadth and the length, the height and the depth of the love of Christ, until you are filled with the utter fullness of God” (vv.16.18-19, First Reading).

Reaching high and wide
In prayer, we can fathom Jesus Christ’s love for us. But that mystery of love is of such proportions that it allows us to reach up to God the Father, from whom the Son Jesus gets his sonship (“the height and depth”). But in so doing it shows us that the Spirit who flames that love between the Father and the Son nudges us to reach out to others (“the breadth and length”). Would that not transform us into the fullness of God, he who is the loving Father who generates a self-sacrificing Son? Would that mutual self-giving character prompt us to be the same for others?

Putting on this listening attitude towards God’s will in prayer would usher us into an openness to God that will help us surrender to his unfathomable plans for us, convinced that he “can accomplish infinitely more than we can ask or imagine” (v.20).

Blazing fire
Would this be the fire that Jesus has come to bring on earth and which he deeply yearns that it be already blazing (v.49, Gospel)? If at his baptism, the Father pointed him out to us as his beloved Son in whom he is well pleased (see Luke 3:22), wasn’t it because Jesus was completely available to do his Father’s will, even upon the cross? Wasn’t this the baptism that he was to receive and to which he looked forward in a perfect way?

That full adherence to and embracing of the will of the Father brought perfect joy to him. But it was also the cause of division even between the most intimate of relations who were faced with a decision for or against him. “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters” (Luke 11:23).

Right attitude

Lord Jesus, would you allow me today to take the Beloved Disciple’s place at your side during the Last Supper? I want to be constantly in tune with your heart so as to be able to listen to the Father’s heart. Renew your Spirit of boldness within me because losing myself in your heart might bring me into some kind of distance from others who have not yet experienced the width and length and breadth and depth of your demands. Set me on fire for your Gospel, for it is in it that I will find the truth, and the truth that sets me free. Amen.”