Bishop Anthony B. Taylor delivered this homily on Good Friday, April 2.
When Jesus’ disciples asked how to pray -- not what to pray, but rather how to pray -- the Lord’s Prayer was his answer.
Recently, the phrase “hallowed be thy name” keeps surfacing as a kind of pivot around which the rest of my prayer revolves, especially in this time of the COVID-19 pandemic and today as we accompany Jesus to Calvary.
Years ago, I was told that it was OK, even healthy, to get angry with God sometimes. Angry about unanswered prayers. Angry about adversity. Angry about loss.
More recently the Lord has revealed to me that this was very bad advice. Anger implies that God owes us something which he has not delivered. Anger exalts our will over God’s will and certainly does not “hallow” his name.
On Good Friday we discover that the cross is salvific, including the crosses in our own lives. What cause is there for anger in that? If Jesus, who is without sin, embraced the cross with sacrificial love, who are we to resent the adversities with which God sees fit to bless us -- and indeed, save us? How could resentment possibly hallow God’s name?
We ask for our daily bread -- everything we need, which is not everything we desire. We ask to be delivered from evil, yet only God knows what is truly best for us. So we resent it when at times God uses adversity to discipline us and/or open our eyes to see things from a different perspective, all for our own ultimate good even if it doesn’t much feel like it at the time.
Even illness and death become a blessing when embraced with an attitude that hallows — sanctifies -- God’s name. He is the master; we are servants whose only role and source of greatest blessing is to do God’s will as best we know it.
That is why when people ask me about future plans, I often add the phrase “God willing.” This is a small reminder that whatever God wills -- even difficult things -- comes first. Jesus models for us today what it really means to hallow God’s name.
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