23rd SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME (A)
Sunday 10 September 2023
“Again, truly I tell you, if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them”.
“Amen” is an Hebraic term found about 30 times in Matthew’s Gospel. When the word is found at the beginning of Jesus’ discourses it is often translated as ‘in truth’ or ‘truly’. It grants solemnity to a discussion but, above all, it indicates that whatever is about to be said is true, certain and worthy of faith, and binding for the person that makes the proclamation: in this case that is Jesus Himself! Therefore, we must give our fullest attention to the words which follow the pronouncement of Amen. Jesus talks about community prayer, and the conditions needed to make it effective:
– At least two people praying.
– Ask! This is the most basic condition, without which we obtain nothing. Don’t ask just for something, but for whatever and everything! Including big things, like healing…
– Reach agreement. The Greek verb here is sumfoneo, which literally means the harmonious tuning of many musical instruments playing together. This is where we also get the word ‘symphony’.
We are called to ‘agree with each other’ in our familial or community prayer in order not to be ‘out-of-tune’. It is the most delicate point of our task. It doesn’t just mean being united in purpose, or being in agreement on the request being made to the Father. It also means achieving harmony in our interventions, participating in each other’s prayer by leaving the vortex of our own selfishness, and being of one heart and one soul (cfr. Acts 4:32); in short, “create a symphony”.
Tuning our instruments to each other is equivalent to reconciling with each other, looking each other in the eyes and opening our mouths, letting whatever burden or shadow that can make our prayer out-of-tune. Just like an instrument loses tune when it’s left in a space that is too cold or too warm, the same can happen to our hearts. Our prayer becomes a symphony only through forgiveness and reconciliation. Only through this can our prayerful symphony rise to heaven and enable the graces we’ve asked for to fall. Jesus promises this, committing to it with His Amen.
So all we need to do is to live as ‘surrendered’ Christians! Jesus encourages us to ask – together, agreed, reconciled – with the trust and certainty that we receive what we ask for, because Jesus asks the Father along with us!