St. Peter's Square
Wednesday, 17 April 2019
Catechesis - Easter: prayer to the Father in the trial
Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!
In these weeks we are reflecting on the prayer of the "Our Father". Now, on the eve of the Easter Triduum, let us dwell on some words with which Jesus, during the Passion, prayed to the Father.
The first invocation takes place after the Last Supper, when the Lord, "lift your eyes to heaven, said:" Father, the hour has come: glorify your Son - and then - glorify me before you with that glory which I had before you before the world was "" (Jn 17: 5.5). Jesus asks for glory, a request that seems paradoxical while the Passion is at the door. What glory is it? Glory in the Bible indicates the revealing of God, is the distinctive sign of his saving presence among men. Now, Jesus is the one who shows God's presence and salvation in a definitive way. And he does it in the Passover: raised up on the cross, he is glorified (see Jn 12: 23-33). There God finally reveals his glory: he takes away the last veil and astonishes us as never before. In fact we discover that the glory of God is all love: pure love, crazy and unthinkable, beyond all limits and measure.
Brothers and sisters, let us make Jesus' prayer our own: let us ask the Father to remove the veils from our eyes because in these days, looking at the Crucifix, we can accept that God is love. How many times do we imagine it a master and not a Father, how often we think of it as a severe judge rather than a merciful Savior! But God at Easter clears the distance, showing himself in the humility of a love that demands our love. We therefore give him glory when we live all that we do with love, when we do everything with the heart, as for Him (see Col 3:17). True glory is the glory of love, because it is the only one that gives life to the world. Of course, this glory is the opposite of worldly glory, which comes when one is admired, praised, acclaimed: when I am in the center of attention. The glory of God, on the other hand, is paradoxical: no applause, no audience. At the center there is not the ego, but the other: at Easter we see in fact that the Father glorifies the Son while the Son glorifies the Father. No one glorifies himself. We can ask ourselves today: "What is the glory I live for? My or God's? Do I just want to receive from others or even give to others? "
After the Last Supper, Jesus enters the garden of Gethsemane; here too he prays to the Father. While the disciples are unable to stay awake and Judas is arriving with the soldiers, Jesus begins to feel "fear and anguish". Experience all the anguish for what awaits him: betrayal, contempt, suffering, failure. He is "sad" and there, in the abyss, in that desolation, he addresses to the Father the most tender and sweet word: "Abba", that is, father (see Mk 14: 33-36). In the test Jesus teaches us to embrace the Father, because in prayer to Him there is the strength to go on in pain. In fatigue, prayer is relief, trust, comfort. In the abandonment of all, in the interior desolation Jesus is not alone, he is with the Father. Instead, in our Gethsemane we often choose to remain alone rather than say "Father" and entrust ourselves to Him, like Jesus, to entrust ourselves to his will, which is our true good. But when we are closed in on ourselves in the test, we dig a tunnel inside, a painful introverted path that has a single direction: more and more deeply in ourselves. The biggest problem is not pain, but how it is dealt with. Solitude offers no way out; prayer is yes, because it is relationship, it is trust. Jesus entrusts everything and entrusts himself to the Father, bringing him what he feels, leaning on him in the struggle. When we enter our Gethsemane - each of us has our own Gethsemane or has had them or will have them - we remember this: when we enter, when we enter our Gethsemane, let us remember to pray like this: "Father".
Finally, Jesus addresses a third prayer for us to the Father: "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do" (Lk 23:34). Jesus prays for those who have been evil to Him, for his killers. The Gospel specifies that this prayer occurs at the moment of crucifixion. It was probably the moment of the sharpest pain when the nails were driven into Jesus' wrists and feet. Here, at the summit of pain, love reaches its climax: forgiveness comes, that is, the gift to the nth power, which breaks the circle of evil. Dear brothers and sisters, praying in these days the "Our Father", we can ask for one of these graces: to live our days for the glory of God, that is to live with love; to know how to entrust ourselves to the Father in trials and to say "dad" to the Father and to find forgiveness and the courage to forgive in the encounter with the Father. Both things go together. The Father forgives us, but gives us the courage to forgive.
FULL TEXT and Image Source Share from Vatican.va - Unofficial Translation