Dear brothers and sisters: In our catechesis on the Lord’s Prayer, we now reflect on its very first words: “Our Father”. Saint Paul’s letters testify that the earliest Christians, guided by the Holy Spirit, prayed using the Aramaic word for “father” that Jesus himself had used: “Abba” (cf. Rom 8:15; Gal 4:6). At the beginning of the Lord’s Prayer, then, we hear an echo of the voice of Jesus himself, who teaches the disciples that to pray is to share in his own intimate and trusting relationship with the Father. The parable of the prodigal son shows us most vividly how Jesus wants us to understand our heavenly Father and his infinite love, mercy and forgiveness. Indeed, there is also something maternal about this love of the Father, which accompanies and nurtures the development of our new life in Christ as his adoptive sons and daughters. All the newness of the Gospel, and the very heart of our prayer as Christians, is in some sense summed up in the one word: “Abba”. Even in the most difficult times in our lives, may we never be afraid to turn in trust and confidence to the Father, praying in the words that Jesus taught us: “Abba”, “Our Father”.
Greetings to pilgrims
I welcome the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s Audience, especially the groups coming from Korea and the United States of America. In the context of the forthcoming Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, I offer a special greeting to the group from the Bossey Ecumenical Institute. My cordial greeting also goes to the priest alumni of the Pontifical North American College. Upon all of you I invoke the joy and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ. God bless you!