Memorial of Saint Pope John XXIII
Lord, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples.
Eleven simple words spoken by an un-named disciple. In reflecting on that moment, I’m in awe of how that casual request gave us a prayer, the Our Father, which is prayed daily by millions in hundreds of languages around the world two thousand years later.
My first memory of learning the Our Father was the prayer typed on a white 4×6 index card. My mom typed the Catholic prayers on index cards for the youngest children in our family. These cards were placed on our dining table between the salt and pepper shakers and the napkin caddy (with five children, extra napkins were always on the table). We learned all our general prayers at the end of meals around the table.
Throughout the Gospel of Luke, Jesus is often remembered as a person of constant prayer. His example inspired his disciples to request instruction on how to pray. Jesus’s response is historic. The Lord’s Prayer is truly the first prayer of the Church. It is scripture and the inspired word of God, opening with calling out to God as Our Father – as a loving parent who is understanding, compassionate, and forgiving of his children.
Today, we remember Saint Pope John XXIII, born in Sotto il Monte, near Bergamo in northern Italy. Archbishop Angelo Roncalli helped save an estimated twenty-four thousand Jewish people during WWII. He opened the Second Vatican Council on October 11, 1962, with his address, “Mother Church Rejoices,” as a means of spiritual renewal for the Church. His sense of God’s providence made him ideal for promoting a new dialogue with Protestant and Orthodox Christians, Jews, and Muslims. Pope John XXIII canonized our founder, Peter Julian Eymard, on December 9, 1962.
As we pray the Our Father today, let us pause and celebrate as one universal family worldwide.
Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.