Jesus being Crucified,
Painted by Lu Hongnian (1914-1989),
Published circa 1930,
Screen print on paper
© Sotheby's Hong Kong, 6 April 2010, lot 716, sold for HKD 187,500

Jesus being Crucified,
Painted by Lu Hongnian (1914-1989),
Published circa 1930,
Screen print on paper
© Sotheby's Hong Kong, 6 April 2010, lot 716, sold for HKD 187,500

Gospel of 23 February 2021

Our Father in heaven

Matthew 6:7-15

Jesus said to his disciples: 'In your prayers do not babble as the pagans do, for they think that by using many words they will make themselves heard. Do not be like them; your Father knows what you need before you ask him. So you should pray like this:

'Our Father in heaven,

may your name be held holy,

your kingdom come,

your will be done,

on earth as in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.

And forgive us our debts, as we have forgiven those who are in debt to us.

And do not put us to the test,

but save us from the evil one.

'Yes, if you forgive others their failings, your heavenly Father will forgive you yours; but if you do not forgive others, your Father will not forgive your failings either.'

Reflection on the Chinese Christian Artwork

In today's Gospel reading, Jesus teaches us how to pray. The very first two words are 'Our Father'. By calling and realising that God is our father, we establish a relationship with Him as a person. He is a person who loves us. He wants to talk to us, He wants to hear from us, He wants to share things with us… That is what Jesus is teaching us today, to pray in dependence before God.

We feel in today's reading that Jesus' prayer to His Father and Our Father came from His heart. The prayer carries intimacy. The prayer carries trust and love from Jesus to God and from us to God too each time we pray the Our Father. As the prayer begins with 'our' it unites us all as people with each other. Pope Benedict XVI, when commenting on the Lord's Prayer, said: "The Christian does not say "My Father" but "Our Father", even in the secrecy of a closed room, because he knows that in every place, on every occasion, he is a member of one and the same body."

This prayer has been said, recited, sung right from the early church till today, everywhere in the world. In art, different cultures have often portrayed Jesus as being from their ethnical group to make Him speak more to their own cultural backgrounds. Just like the 'Our Father' prayer, it stresses that Jesus came for all the nations of the world, the true universality of our Church. Today's watercolour is by Chinese artist Lu Hongnian depicting Christ about to be crucified.

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