XXIII. Both Luke and Matthew record the Lord’s Prayer, but in different language. Matthew’s is the fuller version and we use it in the Church’s prayer, though the two versions are not contradictory. Pope Benedict notes: “It comprises an initial saluation and seven petitions. Three are ‘thou-petitions,’ while four are ‘we-petitions.’ The first three petitions concern the cause of God Himself in this world; the four following petitions concern our hopes, needs, and hardships. The relationship between the two sets of petitions in the Our Father could compared to the relationship between the two tablets of the Decalogue. Essentially they are explications of the two parts of the great commandment to love God and our neighbor – in other words, they are directions toward the path of love,” the way that begins with God and His Kingdom first of all and sustains us even when we are beset by temptations and evil (p. 135).
Beginning with the title for God, “Father,” is a summary of the whole of salvation history. “We are allowed to say ‘Father,’ because the Son is our brother and has revealed the Father to us; because, thanks to what Chirst has done, we have once more become children of God” (p. 136).
In human history, and especially today, the word “father” may lack positive and warm connotations for many, with fathers who are absent or whose failures obscure Jesus’ meaning in using this term from Israel’s history. As Jesus uses the term from this background, the Father is the source of all good, and the measure of the rightness and ideals of the human person. The Father’s unconditional love endures forever; and this love is revealed in the very Person of Jesus, the Son. When we live in this same unconditional love, beginning in our Baptism in Christ’s death and resurrection, we are truly sons and daughters with Jesus.