If there’s one thing we Catholics are good at, it’s praying the “Lord’s Pray”, or the “Our Father”. Of course, we’re not the only ones who use this prayer. Our protestant brothers and sisters pray it too, but not as often as we do. We pray the prayer at every mass. We pray it at morning and evening prayer. We pray it fourteen times when we do the Stations of the Cross and we pray it six times when we say a decade of the Rosary.
It’s not just “our” prayer, but we can definitely lay claim to being it’s “power users.”
“Jesus answered the Jews: ’My Father is at work until now, so I am at work.’ For this reason they tried all the more to kill him, because He not only broke the sabbath but He also called God his own father.”
Think about that! They wanted to kill Him for calling God His Father. This was the ultimate blasphemy. You didn’t talk about God that way. The Jews were forbidden to even speak His name. But not only did Jesus call God “His Father”, he encouraged his disciples to do the same. They asked Him, “Teacher, how should we pray?” He told them to pray like this: Father, hallowed be your name.” (Luke 11:2-4)
We take it for granted today that God is our Father. We’ve been taught to think of Him that way since we were little children. I think most of us picture Him as a kindly father-figure, kind of like George Burns in the movie Oh,God. That was NOT the image of God for the Old Testament Jews. You didn’t call God your father any more than they’d call Julius Caesar “Julie.” It just wasn’t done.
Sometimes, to appreciate the scriptures we have to step back and think about what was going on in the world 2,000 years ago. From the vantage point of a first-century Jew, things looked a lot different than they do today. But, even through today’s eyes, it’s pretty awesome that we can speak to the all-powerful Creator of the Universal, in such a familiar way. Even more awesome is that we know He listens to us.