“Our” Father and Our Brothers and Sisters

In his homily yesterday morning, Pope Francis focused on the Lord’s Prayer. He reminded his audience that we don’t pray “my Father,” but “our Father,” because “we are not an only child, none of us are”.

In my prayer this morning, I sat with the “Our Father.” I don’t mean the entirety of the prayer, but just those two words. As I repeated them over and over in my mind, I saw a parade of people. The first three that appeared to my mind were a close friend who is a priest, a newer friend who strives to find God, and someone I know who has no room in his life for God. After those three, I saw a stream of people: first, those I know – ranging from those with whom I have a close relationship to those I have more personal difficulty with, then public figures, again some of whom I admire and others of whom I find distasteful; and finally with figures further abroad, both geographically and temporally.

All of them my brothers and sisters. The ones for whom faith matters and the ones with no faith. The ones I like being with and the ones I’d be happy never to be in the same room with. The ones we would all label “good” people and the ones who have lost their way.

Our Father. It means something.

One of the first headlines I saw this morning was in an e-mail (I didn’t even look to see where it came from) and it read “Don’t Work with Jerks.” It may be that the piece accompanying the title had some good information about dealing with co-workers. But I reacted to the title because often “He’s a jerk,” of “She’s a jerk,” is a way of writing of people. I don’t need to bother with him/her because he/she is a jerk.

He/she is our brother or sister. And you wouldn’t so easily write one of your “blood” brothers and sisters off so easily.

Our Father. It means something.

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