1st week in Lent, Tuesday –3rdMarch 2020 — Matthew6,7-15
God’s name designates Liberation
The most important phrase in Lord’s Prayer is: Hallowed by thy name. The name, in the Bible, designates a person, and defines his or her inner nature. To know someone’s name is simply to know him or her. In the OT, God revealed his name to Moses – that is, he revealed his very self. God’s name refers to the revelation of God’s presence and liberating will in the midst of distress and oppression (Ex 3,14). With Isaiah in particular, he reveals himself as holy – that is, as the One who transcends everything and at the same time commits himself to us (Is 6,3). According to Ezekiel, God will sanctify his name by liberating the people from their captors and returning them home (Ez 36,22-37). In the NT, the definitive name of God is finally revealed in Jesus: “O Righteous Father… I made your name known to them” (Jn 17,25-26). Elsewhere he also speaks of God as “Holy Father” (Jn 17,11). “Father” is the name of God. As the Holy Father, God breaks through the confines of creation and yet dwells in the heavens; as the Just Father, God has compassion on our lowliness and pitches his tent among us. In the language of Jesus: God is Abba, the kind, merciful Father. God’s saving purposes is to be enacted in Jesus, for his name signifies his mission to save from sin (1,21) – that is transform oppression into liberation. Therefore, to hallow God’s name is to honour God in doing God’s will (Lev 22,31-32) and in recognizing God’s faithful, saving actions (Is 29,22-23). Such actions reveal God as God, the one who gives life to humans and who demands that humans live so that all may enjoy life. God’s name is hallowed in acts of liberation, but ultimately in a world that honours God as God.