The  Sermon on the Mount Continued
Teaching About the Private Life of the  Christian Disciple and the Practice of Righteousness

Holy God, our Father,
In the covenant at Sinai, You betrothed Yourself to Your Bride, Israel,  expressing Your love for Israel in the gift of the Law and receiving Israel’s  returned love in her obedience to Your Law.  But the Law that the Old  Covenant Church received as her betrothal band was also a law in anticipation of  a future greater Law.  In the fullness of time, You bound the New Israel of  the universal Catholic Church to her Bridegroom, Jesus Christ, through the  fulfillment and transformation of the Old Covenant Law in the ministry and the  sacrifice of the Messiah.  Jesus’ New Covenant Law was also conceived in  love that was to be put into action through the obedience of faith.  It is  a Law that is applied to the hearts of the faithful through the work of our  advocate, God the Holy Spirit.  Send Your Holy Spirit to us now, Lord, to  guide us in our continuing study of the application of the New Covenant Law in  the lives of Your Christian children.  We pray in the name of God the  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Amen.

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From the Sermon on the Mount onwards, Jesus insists on conversion of  heart: reconciliation with one’s brother before presenting an offering on the  altar, love of enemies, and prayer for persecutors, prayer to the Father in  secret, not heaping up empty phrases, prayerful forgiveness from the depths of  the heart, purity of heart, and seeking the Kingdom before all else.  This  filial conversion is entirely directed to the Father. CCC 2608


In chapter 6 Jesus continues His homily, moving from teaching  on the commands of the Old Testament law to teaching on other standards of  Christian discipleship.  Jesus warns His disciples against external actions  that are not generated from a sincere heart but offered in order to be seen and  admired.  He gives three examples of acts that should be offered in secret  in the private lives of Christians in order not to divert glory to God into  glory to self:

  1. almsgiving (Mt 6:1-4)
  2. prayer (Mt 6:5-15)
  3. fasting (Mt 6:16-18)

The interior penance of Christians can be expressed in many ways, but Sacred Scripture and the Fathers of the Church  insist that the most important expressions of interior penance, aside from the purification of Christian Baptism and the  purification of martyrdom for the faith, are found in the practices of almsgiving, prayer and fasting.

Question: These three acts of Christian virtue express continual conversion in turning away from sin in what three ways?


  1. Almsgiving: conversion in relation to others
  2. Prayer: conversion in relation to God
  3. Fasting: conversion in relation to oneself

Each of these acts of religion offers the Christian the means of obtaining  expiation of sins (CCC 1434).

Jesus will continue to use the authoritative “I say” in Matthew 6:2, 5, 16, 25, and 29 as His homily continues with His teaching  concerning the hidden motives of the heart and interior holiness.  He  discusses the righteous Christian’s obligations in giving to the poor, in  prayer, and in fasting. These three acts continue to be the hallmarks of  Christian penance (CCC 1434, 2043, 2447, 2462, 2744-45), and the Catholic Church  continues to encourage these three necessary acts of holiness: The interior  penance of the Christian can be expressed in many and various ways.   Scripture and the Fathers insist above all on three forms, fasting, prayer, and  almsgiving, which express conversion in relation to oneself, to God, and to  others… (CCC 1434).


Therefore, do not  make any judgment before the appointed time, until the Lord comes, for he will  bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will manifest the motives of our  hearts, and then everyone will receive praise from God.
1 Corinthians 4:5

Jesus’ teaching to His disciples and the twelve Apostles  continues on the Mt. of the Beatitudes as Jesus defines genuine acts of  righteousness.

Matthew 6:1-4 ~ “[But] take care not to perform  righteous deeds in order that people may see them; otherwise, you will have no  recompense from your heavenly Father.  2 When you give alms, do not blow a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites  do in the synagogues and in the streets to win the praise of others.  Amen,  I say to you, they have received their reward.  3 But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right  hand is doing, 4 so that your  almsgiving may be secret.  And your Father who sees in secret will repay  you.”

Jesus is not questioning the giving of charity to the needy.   This is an obligation commanded in the Law of the Sinai Covenant (for example  see Ex 21:2; 22:20-2623:10ff; Dt 15:11).  Jesus is instead criticizing  the intent of giving “the misuse of charity for self-glorification.  He is  contrasting the insincerity of the “hypocrite” with the right conduct required  of His disciples.

Question: What is Jesus’ emphasis concerning Christian  conduct?
Answer: Once again His emphasis is on the internal  origin of true holiness.

In verse 2 Jesus condemns the blowing of trumpets: When  you give alms, do not blow a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the  synagogues and in the streets to win the praise of others. This may or may  not have been a practice of the wealthy when going to the Synagogue or the  Temple to give alms in the 1st century AD.  It also may have  been an exaggeration on Jesus’ part to condemn the ostentatious way in which  some wealthy Jews and Israelites drew attention to themselves and flaunted their  alms-giving.  Jesus’ use of the word “hypocrites” is interesting because  there is no counterpart for this Greek word in Hebrew or Aramaic (the common  language of Jesus’ time).  In Greek the word refers to “playing a part” in  Greek drama.  In other words, the insincere almsgiver is only “play acting”  for an audience and not sincerely giving from the heart.

St. Augustine writes: A hypocrite is one who pretends to  be something one is not.  This person pretends to be righteous yet shows no  evidence of righteousness … they receive no reward from God the searcher of the  heart “only reproach for their deceit.  They may have a human reward, but  from God they hear, “Depart from me, you workers of deceit.  You may speak  my name, but you do not do my works” (St. Augustine, Sermon on the Mount 2.2.5).

Some scholars have suggested that Jesus’ use of this Greek  word indicates that He spoke the Greek language.  If Jesus spoke Greek that  would not be unusual; Greek was the international language of the Roman world at  this time in history and had been for more than two centuries.(1)

Matthew 6:3-4 ~ But when you give alms, do not let your  left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your almsgiving may be secret.  And your Father who  sees in secret will repay you.”

Jesus uses hyperbole to make His point as He did earlier in verses 29-30.

Question: Giving alms to the poor was an obligation  under the Sinai Covenant.  Is it Jesus’ suggestion that the giving of alms  is only an option for the Christian?
Answer: No.  Jesus says When you  give almsnot “if you give.”

Question: Why does Jesus say that knowledge of your  acts of charity should not be openly shared with friends and acquaintances?
Answer: Because their admiration will be yout reward,  but if you act in secret, your heavenly Father will reward you “a much greater  blessing than mere temporal acknowledgement and praise.

Question: What does the Catholic Church teach about  almsgiving?  See CCC 1434, 1438, 1969, 2447, 2462.

  • Almsgiving becomes a form of penitence for our sins
  • It is part of our obligation in sharing of the love of God with others under the New Law
  • Almsgiving is a work of mercy in which we can thank God for the mercy He has shown us by extending His mercy to others

In the book of Tobit, the archangel Raphael praises prayer,  fasting and almsgiving as virtuous acts, but he especially commends almsgiving  saying: Prayer and fasting are good, but better than either is almsgiving  accompanied by righteousness.  It is better to give alms than to store up  gold; for almsgiving saves one from death and expiates every sin.  Those  who regularly give alms shall enjoy a full life; but those habitually guilty of  sin are their own worst enemies (Tobit 12:8-10).


Let us tell Him we  love Him.  We might ask Him what He wants of us, what are His wishes.   Sometimes we might ask Jesus something for ourselves and something for others.   One can speak to Jesus as brother to brother, as friend to friend, more so,  since it often happens that men do not understand us, whereas Jesus understands  each of us always.  Such conversations are pleasing to Jesus.
St. Maximilian Kolbe

Those who pray are  certainly saved; those who do not pray are certainly damned (St. Alphonsus  Liguori)

Matthew 6:5-8 ~ “When you pray, do not be like the  hypocrites, who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners  so that others may see them.  Amen, I say to you, they have received their  reward.  6 But when you pray,  go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret.   And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.  7In praying, do not babble like the pagans, who think that they will be  heard because of their many words.  8 Do not be like them.  Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” 

Speaking to an Israelite and Jewish audience, Jesus’ words  “When you pray” not only refers to communal prayer in the local Synagogues but  probably also refers to the observed traditional hours of private prayer, both  of which corresponded to the daily Temple liturgical worship services.(2)  Before the destruction of the Jerusalem  Temple in 70 AD, religious Jews observed both morning prayer and evening (our  afternoon) prayer in association with the most sacred sacrifice of the Sinai  Covenant, the daily offering of the Tamid lambs in God’s holy earthly Sanctuary:  one lamb brought to the altar at dawn and offered in the morning service from  9-11 AM, the third to the fifth hours Jewish time, and the second in the  “evening” service (their evening is our afternoon) with the lamb brought to the  altar “between the twilights” or noon and offered in sacrifice in a liturgical  service that lasted from 3-5 PM, the ninth to the eleventh hours Jewish time (Ex 29:38-42; Num 28:3-8).

In Acts 3:1 Sts. Peter and John attended the afternoon  liturgical service at the Temple: Now Peter and John were going up to the  Temple for the three o’clock hour of prayer. The term “hour of prayer”  refers to a part of the day devoted to prayer.  The hours of prayer were  determined by the “perpetual sacrifice” of the Tamid lambs around which the  entire day’s liturgy in the Temple revolved).(3)

For those not attending the Temple service, private morning  prayer (in Hebrew Shacharit, meaning morning) was acceptable until noon,  as was observed by St. Peter while visiting in the city of Joppa: Peter went  up to the roof terrace to pray at about noontime (Acts 10:9).  While  the Jews were in exile in Babylon, they continued observed these prayer times,  as did the prophet Daniel: I was still occupied with my prayer, confessing my  sin and the sin of my people Israel, presenting my petition to the LORD, my God,  on behalf of his holy mountain “I was still occupied with this prayer, when  Gabriel, the one whom I had seen before in vision, came to me in rapid flight at  the time of the evening sacrifice (Dan 9:20-21).  Note: their “evening”  was our “afternoon” since one day ended and the next began at sundown.  The  “holy mountain” refers to the Jerusalem Temple that stood on Mt. Moriah.

Question: Do you notice something interesting about  the two times for prayer in association with the offering of the two lambs of  the daily Tamid worship services in the Temple: 9AM and 3PM?  Hint: see Mk 15:25; Mt 27:45, 46.
Answer: These times correspond to Jesus’ hours on the  cross from 9AM when He was crucified (according to Mark 15:25) 3PM when He gave  up His life.

Once more Jesus addressed the necessity of seeking an  interior desire to please God rather than exterior actions gaining the attention  and approval of men, and once more Jesus used the Greek word “hypocrites.”    Jesus first used this word in Matthew 6:2.  He will use this word 12 times in  Matthew’s Gospel “six of those times in Matthew 23:13-29, applying the insult  directly to the “teachers of the law” and the Pharisees.

Question: How does Jesus recommend that the Christian  disciple pray?
Answer: Communal prayer must not be the only form of  prayer; he stresses the necessity for private prayer alone with God.

Question: Can you think of a time when Jesus practiced  the example of private prayer?  For a few of many examples see Mt 14:23; Mk 6:46; 14:32, 34-35; Lk 6:12, 9:28; 22:40-46 and Mt 26:36-46.
Answer: He illustrated the importance of withdrawing  for private prayer with God before beginning the Sermon on the Mount when …he  departed to the mountain to pray, and he spent the night in prayer to God (Lk 6:12).  At many times during Jesus’ ministry He found it necessary to  withdraw from the crowds and from His disciples to pray in solitude to His  Father as He did in His last prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Question: What does Jesus teach about prayer offered  to God in these passages: Mt 6:5-8; 7:7-11; 18:19-20; 21:22; Mk 12:40; Lk 11:9-10; 18:1-8, 10-14; Jn 14:13-14; 15:7, 16; and 16:23-27?
Answer: Throughout His ministry Jesus taught His  disciples:

  1. Prayer offered to God should come from a humble heart whether offered in private prayer or while praying with others.
  2. When two of more of us pray together in agreement on a petition, He gave us assurance that God hears our prayers.
  3. Prayer should come from the depth of one’s heart rather than only from the lips.
  4. In our prayers we should make our petitions trusting not in our needs but in God’s goodness because our Father knows what we need before we ask Him.
  5. We should be direct and persistent in our prayers.
  6. Prayer must be made with faith and offered in the name of Jesus, asking only for what is good and trusting God to meet our needs.  Whatever we ask in prayer with faith, we will receive what we need.
  7. Those who pray with a false heart or in pretence of righteousness will receive a severe judgment.

In his commentary on this passage, St. John Chrysostom wrote  about the spiritual healthy practice of continuous prayer: Nothing is equal  to prayer; for what is impossible it makes possible, what is difficult, easy ….  For it is impossible, utterly impossible, for the man who prays eagerly and  invokes God ceaselessly ever to sin.  And the Catechism teaches:

Prayer is a vital necessity.  Proof from the contrary  is no less convincing: if we do not allow the Spirit to lead us, we fall back  into the slavery of sin.  How can the Holy Spirit be our life if our heart  is far from him? (CCC 2744).

Matthew 6:6But when  you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in  secret.  And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.

Question: What did Jesus mean when He said go yourinner room, close the door and pray to your Father in secret?
Answer: When not praying as a faith community, Jesus  may be recommending that we literally pray in a confined space to avoid earthly  distractions, or He may be referring figuratively to the “inner room” of our  inner-most hearts and minds when we shut out the distractions of the world and  focus entirely on speaking with God.

The second interpretation is the way St. Augustine  interpreted His words: What are those bed chambers but just our hearts  themselves … Hence the door is to be shut, i.e. the fleshly sense is to be  resisted, so that the spiritual prayer may be directed to the Father, which is  done in the inmost heart, where prayer is offered to the Father which is in  secret.  Whether literally or figuratively, we must be able to pray in  a way where one’s complete attention can turn to God.

Matthew 6:7In  praying, do not babble like the pagans, who think that they will be heard  because of their many words.  8 Do not be like them.  Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” 

In the conclusion to His teaching on prayer, Jesus contrasts  desired Christian conduct in prayer with the conduct of the pagans who “babble”  in their prayers.

Question: Is Jesus forbidding public prayer or  repetitive prayer like the rosary in this passage?  See Mt 6:9-14 and Lk 11:2.
Answer: Jesus obviously does not mean to forbid  repetitive prayer because in the very next passage He gives His disciples the  most often repeated prayer in the history of salvation, and in Luke 11:2 before  praying Luke’s version of this prayer He commands His disciples to repeat it as  an introduction to prayer saying “When you pray say:…”!

Jesus was also not banning public prayer which He often led  during His ministry (see Mt 11:25ff; Mk 6:41; Lk 11:1; Jn 11:41-42) and which  was an important part of liturgical worship in the Temple and in communal  worship in the local Synagogues.  Nor can Jesus be referring to the  reciting of the rosary which is not “meaningless babble.”  Praying the  rosary fills the mind of the individual with the life, ministry, passion and  glorification of Jesus Christ as experienced in the life of His mother, Mary of  Nazareth.  The beads of the rosary do not distract us in our prayer but  focus our attention on our prayers in order to concentrate our minds on the  visions of the events in the lives of our Savior and His mother.  It is  only prayer that is self-centered instead of God-centered and the meaningless  chanting of repetitive words or sounds in pagan prayer which often consisted of  repetitive chanting of the god’s name in order to compel the deity to respond to  the worshipper’s desired petition that Jesus is condemning. His point is that  prayer is for God alone and the Christian soul in prayer must be turned to God  alone.

THE PATER NOSTER [in Latin “Our Father”] also called THE LORD’S PRAYER

For those who are led by  the Spirit of God are children of God.  For you did not receive a spirit of  slavery to fall back into fear, but you received a spirit of adoption, through  which we cry, Abba, “Father!”  The Spirit itself bears witness with our  spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs,  heirs of  God and joint heirs with Christ, if only we suffer with him so that we may also  be glorified with him.  Romans 8:14-16

The New Law practices the acts of religion: almsgiving, prayer and fasting, directing them to the “Father who sees in secret,” in contrast with the desire to “be seen by men.”  Its prayer is the Our Father.  CCC 1969

In His teaching about prayer, Jesus  taught His disciples how to pray by giving them a prayer to unify and identify  themselves as His disciples.

Matthew 6:9-15 ~ “This is how you are to pray: Our Father in heaven,  hallowed be your name, 10 your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. 11 Give us today our daily bread; 12 and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors; 13 and do not subject us to the final test, but deliver us from the evil one. 14 If you forgive others their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions.”

This is the prayer that our Lord Jesus gave to us, His  beloved disciples of every generation, and therefore we give the prayer the  title “the Lord’s Prayer.”  Christians have also given this prayer the  title taken from the first two words of the prayer “the “Our Father,” in Latin,  “Pater Noster.”  This prayer has been part of the Church’s liturgy since  apostolic times, and the petitions of the prayer, made in the name of God the  Father, and are a concise synthesis of Christian faith in the Fatherhood of God.   It was part of the profession of faith for the reception of catechumens into the  Church and is the best known bond of unity between all Christian denominations.

Scholars have suggested that it was common for Rabbis to  teach their disciples a specific prayer to unify and identify them as a  community.  It is this prayer of the Son that unifies and identifies us as  children in the family of His Father.  It has been the central prayer of  the Catholic Church from the time Jesus first taught it to His followers.   Together with the “Hail Mary” prayer, it is one of the first prayers we learn as  little children and it will undoubtedly be the last prayer that we will pray  when we come to the end of our lives on this earth.  From childhood to  death, the prayer which begins with the intimate words “Our Father” is the  prayer which fills us with faith, hope, and consolation.

St. Augustine says that the Lord’s Prayer is so perfect that  it sums up in only a few words everything man needs to petition God. For  the righteous Old Covenant men and women who were Jesus’ disciples, The “Lord’s  Prayer” is similar to the “Eighteen Benedictions” [Shemoneth  Esreh],  prayed by righteous Jews three times daily.  The Didache, the first  catechism of the Church, also required that the “Lord’s Prayer” be prayed three  times a day (Didache, 8:3).  The first part of the prayer, apart  from the intimate invocation to God as “Father,” also shows similarities to the  Aramaic Kaddish, a prayer used in the Synagogue liturgy with its central  petition calling for the coming of God’s kingdom to earth by establishing His  peace and justice through the exercise of His divine will.  The last line  of the Kaddish is a petition to God who makes peace in the heavens to  bring peace to all mankind (The Jewish Book of Why, vol. I, page 72).   The prayer of the Jewish Kaddish was answered in the coming of Jesus the Messiah  and the establishment of the Kingdom of heaven on earth “the New Covenant  universal Church, in which God’s peace and justice for all eternity is extended  to all humanity.

There are two versions of the “Lord’s  Prayer” in Scripture.  The prayer in Matthew opens with an invocation  followed by seven petitions.  There is also a shorter version found in the  Gospel of Luke 11:2-4 that opens with an invocation followed by five petitions.   Jesus probably taught this prayer many times during His three year ministry.   In Luke’s version of the “Lord’s Prayer,” Jesus stresses the “fatherhood” of  God, acknowledging Him as the One to whom we own our daily sustenance (Lk 11:3),  our forgiveness (11:4a), and our deliverance from a final covenant ordeal  (11:4b).  The Navarre scholars write in their commentary on the Gospel of  Matthew that “there can be no brotherhood without parenthood.” It is the Fatherhood of  God that gives us the grace to extend true Christian brotherhood to all men and  women of all races.

A Comparison of the Lord’s Prayer in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke
Matthew 6:9-13 Luke 11:2-4
  Invocation: Our Father in heaven   Invocation: Father
  Petition 1: Hollowed be your name   Petition 1: Hollowed be your name
  Petition 2: Your kingdom come   Petition 2: May your Kingdom come
  Petition 3: Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven
  Petition 4: Give us today our daily bread   Petition 3: Give us each day our daily bread
  Petition 5: And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors   Petition 4: And forgive us our sins for we ourselves forgive everyone in debt to us
  Petition 6: And do not subject us to the final test   Petition 5: And do not subject us to the final test
  Petition 7: but deliver us from the evil one
Michal E. Hunt © 2011

Up to this point in salvation  history, no human being had enjoyed Jesus’ unique relationship to God.  It  is a relationship He extended to those who  believed in His name,  meaning believing everything Jesus taught about Scripture, about Himself and  about the Most Holy Trinity and who, through the sacrament of Baptism, became  sons and daughters in the family of God.  Key passages which explain the  extension of this relationship are found in Matthew 11:25-27 and Hebrews 2:13.

Question: How do the passages in Matthew 11:25-27 and Hebrews 2:8-18 explain the extension of Jesus’ unique relationship  with God the Father to His disciples?  How is this relationship different  from what Moses experienced in Exodus 3:5?  Note: Heb 2:13 is a quote from Is 8:17-18.
Answer: In Matthew 11:25-27, Jesus prayed to  the Father: I bless you, Father, Lord of  heaven and of earth for hiding these things from the learned and the clever and  revealing them to little children.  Yes, Father, for that is what it  pleased you to do.  Everything has been entrusted to me by my Father, and  no one knows the Son except the Father, just as no one knows the Father except  the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.  In the revelation of God from the burning bush, Moses  heard a voice saying to Him, Do not come  near; put off your shoes from your feet for the place on which you are standing  is holy ground  (Ex 3:5).  It was only God the Son who could cross that holy  threshold, a crossing into the presence of God the Father that He has made  available to us through His suffering.  As the inspired writer of Hebrews  tells us, when Jesus made purification for sins, He brought us into the  Father’s presence to proclaim  Behold, I and the children God has given me’ (Heb 2:13). It is only through our relationship  to Jesus that we can called “holy brothers” (Heb 2:11) who call God “Father”  because God the Father is revealed to us by His Son-become-man, through the  power of God the Holy Spirit.

Through His death and resurrection, Jesus has brought us into  the Father’s presence to proclaim “Here am I and the children You have given  me.”  Article # 2780 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church states: The personal relation of the Son to the Father is something that Man cannot  conceive of nor the angelic powers even dimly see; and yet, the Spirit of the  Son grants a participation in that very relation to us who believe that Jesus is  the Christ and that we are born of God.

The invocation: “OUR FATHER IN HEAVEN”

“For in Him we live and  move and exist.”
Acts 17:28

The Father, Creator  of the Universe, and the Word Incarnate, the Redeemer of humanity, are the  source of this universal openness to all people as brothers and sisters, and  they impel us to embrace them in the prayer which begins with the tender words:  Our Father.’
Pope John Paul II, Letter to Families 4

The opening invocation of the “Lord’s Prayer” places us in  the presence of our Father.  The prayer is usually seen as consisting of an  opening address or invocation followed by 7 petitions which are divided into a  set of 3 petitions followed by a set of 4 petitions (see the chart below).   In Scripture 3 is the number of fullness and importance and for Christians 3 is  the number signifying the Trinity.   The number 4 in Scripture, however, usually  represents the number of the world (see the document “The Significance of  Numbers in Scripture” in the Documents section of the website).  St. Matthew  makes rather frequent use of the number 7 in his Gospel.  It is interpreted  in the oral tradition of the covenant people as one of the four “perfect”  numbers (along with 3, 10, and 12).  The recorded expression of this  symbolism not unexpected from an Apostle who was, according to tradition, a  member of the Levitical priesthood (Mk 2:13-17; Lk 5:27-32).

Examples of St. Matthew’s use of  7 as a “perfect number”:

  • Matthew begins  his Gospel with Jesus’ genealogy in 3 x 14 or 6 x 7 generations with Jesus’ name  as the seventh seven.
  • The list of 7  Beatitudes in 5:3-10.
  • The 7 petitions  of the Lord’s Prayer.
  • The 7 loaves and  seven baskets in the miracle feeding of the four thousand in 15:34-37.
  • 7 parables of  Jesus beginning in Matthew chapter 13.
  • Jesus’ command to  forgive one who offends not just 7 times but 77 times in Matthew 18:22.
  • 7 curses against  the Pharisees in Matthew 23:13-32.
The Division of the Petitions in “Lord’s Prayer” found in Matthew 6:9-13
  The Invocation:   Our Father in heaven
  Petition #1 Holy be Your name
  Petition #2 Your kingdom come
  Petition #3 Your will be done on earth as in heaven
The division between the address to God followed by our needs
  Petition #4 Give us today our daily bread
  Petition #5 And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors
  Petition #6 And do not subject us to the final test
  Petition #7 But deliver us from the evil one
Michal E. Hunt © 2011

Referring to the chart above:

Question: To whom are the  first 3 petitions addressed?  What is the focus of the first three  petitions?
Answer:  The first series of three petitions concern God our Father  and are addressed to Him in the possessive pronoun “Your” = “Your name”, “Your  kingdom” and “Your will.”  The first 3 petitions concern the  acknowledgement and praise of God.

Question: What is the  focus of the last 4 petitions?
Answer:  The last 4 petitions are concerned  with the needs of the men and women struggling to follow Christ in this earthly  exile.  Those four petitions are identified by the pronoun “us”: “give us”,  “forgive us”, “do not subject us” and “deliver us.”


The new man, reborn  and restored to his God by grace, says first of all, “Father!” because he has  now begun to be a son. 
St. Cyprian

Question: In the  invocation, to who does the word “Father” refer?
Answer: “Father” refers to the one, holy and eternal  God “the God of Adam, the God of Abraham, the God of Israel “”our” God and Father.

Question: Jesus encourages us to address God as “our  Father.”  What does this intimate address suggest?  See CCC 2786-87.
Answer: This intimate address indicates an entirely  new relationship with God based on the gift of a new and eternal covenant in His  Son, Jesus the Messiah.

In the first words of the prayer we should express the  blessing of our adoration before we express our supplication.  It is by the  grace of God that we can recognize Him as “our Father.”  This recognition  is a gift and we should give Him thanks and praise for having revealed the  intimacy of His name as “Father.”

Question: In what three ways are we blessed to address  God as “Father” that we should give thanks?


  1. We give thanks to God for having revealed His name to us
  2. We give thanks for the gift of believing in His divine Fatherhood
  3. We give thanks for the indwelling of His divine Presence in us that makes us His children

St. Paul wrote: But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his  Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to ransom those under the law, so that  we might receive adoption.  As proof that you are children, God sent the  spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!”  So you are  no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God (Gal 4:4-7).  We adore the  Father because, through the sacrifice of our Savior, Jesus Christ, He has caused  us to be reborn to His life by adopting us as His children and by baptism He has  incorporated us into the Body of Christ (CCC 2782).

Question: In addition to submitting to the Sacrament  of Christian baptism, does the free gift of our adoption that gives us the right  to call God “Father” require any continual action on our part?  See CCC  2784.
Answer: Yes.

  1. We have been created in His image but we are restored to His likeness by the grace imparted to us by the Holy Spirit, and we must respond to His grace by continual conversion in living our new life “in the Spirit.”
  2. As children in the family of God, we must continue to behave as sons and daughters of our heavenly Father by showing mercy to others as He has shown mercy to us and by dying to self in order to live in Christ.

That Jesus should directly address God as “Father” was  shocking to 1st century AD Jews.  Sacred Scripture had addressed  angels, Davidic kings, prophets and the children of Israel collectively as “sons  of God,” but never had anyone dared to address Yahweh publically as “Father” “for  the 1st century Jewish authorities, this was blasphemy, an accusation  leveled against Jesus and one of the reasons His enemies sought to kill Him:  But Jesus answered the, “My Father is at work until now, so I am at work.”   For this reason the Jews tried all the more to kill him, because he not only  broke the Sabbath but he also called God his own father, making himself equal to  God (Jn 5:17-18).  Tertullian, the 3rd century Roman jurist  who surrendered his life to Christ to become a priest and Christian apologist,  wrote that before Jesus … the expression  God the Father’ had never been  revealed to anyone.  When Moses himself asked God who He was, he heard  another name.  The Father’s name has been revealed to us in the Son, for  the name  Son’ implies the new name  Father.’

Question: When did God become God the Father?   Was it in the Incarnation of the Son?  Hint: what is the second line of the  Nicene Creed?
Answer: No.  God the Father did not become  “Father” only after the Incarnation of the Son.  He has been “Father” for  all eternity because the Most Holy Trinity has always lived in perfect communion  through all eternity “3 in One ” God the Father with His Son and united with the  Holy Spirit.  It is what we profess in the creed: I believe in one Lord,  Jesus Christ, the only Son of God eternally begotten of the Father …

It is not God who has changed but through our baptism we have  changed and as a result our relationship with God has changed.  God is  Father to Jesus, but it is Jesus who shares His divine Sonship with us.  It  is through Jesus that we are made “sons in the Son” through our baptism and  become partakers of the divine nature, no longer to be called the sons and  daughters of Adam but the sons and daughters of God.  St Peter wrote: Through these, he has bestowed on us the precious and very great promises, so  that through them you may come to share in the divine nature, after escaping  from the corruption that is in the world because of evil desire.  And  St. Cyprian wrote, The new man, reborn and restored to his God by grace, says  first of all, “Father!” because he has now begun to be a son (2 Pt 1:4; also  see CCC#2782).

God the Father is Father because He has eternally “fathered”  the Son.  He was a “father” before there were human fathers.  St.  Ephraim noted that earthly men are called fathers, but He is the true Father.  He also wrote of the earthly relationship of “fathers” and their “sons” that The terms  father’ and  son’ by which they have been called are borrowed names  that through grace have taught us that there is a Single True Father and that He  has a Single True Son.”

Question: Why is God “our Father”?
Answer: God is our Father because He has  gathered us together in one family in Christ ” established in a universal human  family in the Catholic [catholic means universal] Church.  It is our shared  Sonship with Jesus which gives us the right to address God as “Our Father”  because through the Son we are indeed His children.

The words of the invocation express this unique relationship which we  can only claim through the Son.  Before we make this first exclamation we  must repent our sins, cleanse our hearts and with humility recognize that no one  knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him.   Each of us becomes the  little child’ that Jesus spoke of in Matthew 18:3-5: Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter  the kingdom of heaven.  Whoever humbles himself like this child is the  greatest in the kingdom of heaven, and whoever receives one child such as this  in my name receives me. Before repeating the prayer Jesus taught us we must  step forward in the humility of childlike faith to address “our” Father.

Through the regeneration of our baptism in Christ Jesus, we became  reborn and through our spiritual rebirth we became adopted children in God’s  family:

  • John 3:3, 5:  Jesus  answered and said to him, “Amen, amen, I say to  you, no one can see the  kingdom of God without being born from above …  Amen, amen, I say to you,  on one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit.”
  • Ephesians 1:3-5Blessed  be God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with all the  spiritual blessings of heaven in Christ.  Thus He chose us in Christ before  the world was made to be holy and faultless before Him in love, marking us out  for Himself beforehand, to be adopted sons, through Jesus Christ.
  • Romans 8:14-16: All who are  guided by the Spirit of God are sons of God; for what you received was not the  spirit of slavery to bring you back into fear; you received the spirit of adoption, enabling us to cry out,  Abba, Father!’
  • Galatians 4:5-7: God sent His  Son, born of a woman, born a subject of the Law, to redeem the subjects of the  Law, so that we could receive adoption as sons.  As you are sons,  God has sent into our hearts the Spirit of His Son crying,  Abba, Father’; and  so you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir, by God’s  own act.

Question:  What verb precedes the word  adoption’  in Romans 8:16 (twice) and Galatians 4:5?  Why is this word significant?
Answer: It is the word “receive.”  We did  not earn this adoption, nor did we purchase it “it was a gift of God’s grace that  we “received.”

To be adopted into a family is not a feat one achieves, but  rather it is a gift one accepts. In an adoption the parents are the active  parties.  The same is true with God.  He doesn’t adopt us because of  what we have.  He doesn’t give us His name because of our attitude or our  bank account.  He has caused us to be reborn to His life by adopting us as  His children in His only Son.  By our Baptism, he incorporates us into the  Body of His Jesus and receives us through the anointing of His Spirit who flows  from the head, which is Christ, to the members of His Body, the Church. This  free gift of adoption requires on our part continual conversion manifested as  new spiritual life and on His part, our Father, like any earthly father,  calls us to come to Him.

Question: How might you compare our relationship with  Father God with a relationship with an earthly father?
Answer: As God’s children:

  • We gather in His house (the Church)
  • We come to His table (the altar) where we are nourished (the Eucharist)
  • We are loved, taught and disciplined (by Mother Church), and we grown in knowledge and understanding in His presence.

In other words, He creates a home for us, first in Mother  Church who instructs and guides us and later in our heavenly home.  Sacred  Scripture guides us in our understanding of this relationship.  The  following passages are from the New Jerusalem Bible translation:

  • John 14:23:  (Jesus said) All those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we  will come to them, and make our home with them.
  • Ps: 90:1: Yahweh (LORD), you  have been our home since the beginning.
  • Ps 27:4-5 & Ps 23:6: One  thing I ask of Yahweh, one thing I seek: to dwell in Yahweh’s house all the days  of my life…  I will live in the house of the LORD (Yahweh) forever!   In my Father’s house there are many mansions.  I go to prepare a home…
  • Acts 17:24He does not  make his home in shrines made by human hands.  Nor is He in need of  anything, that He should be served by human hands; on the contrary, it is He who  gives everything “including life and breath “to everyone.

“who is in heaven”

[Christians] are in the flesh,  but do not live according to the flesh.  They spend their lives on earth,  but are citizens of heaven. CCC#2796

The Catechism of the Catholic Church does not identify the  mystery that is “heaven” in earthly terms as a space or a place but as a way of  being in which God transcends time and space to be ever present.  When we  pray the “Lord’s Prayer” we are expressing our union with God through the  Covenant family established in Christ.  United with Him in the Covenant,  earth no long has a hold on us and heaven becomes our home.  Sin is the  force which exiles us from our true home but repentance and conversion of heart  enables us to come to God our Father through the blood of Christ in which heaven  and earth are reconciled.  “For the Son alone descended from heaven and  causes us to ascend there with him, by his Cross, Resurrection, and Ascension” (CCC# 2795).

Question:  Sacred Scripture defines God’s dwelling place or home as “heaven.”  Where  is heaven and how do we find it?
Answer: Heaven is wherever God is; we find “heaven” through our relationship with God  the Son.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church answers this question in article  #2796: Our God is not distant.  He is a father whose place is with His  family.  In Christ heaven and earth are reconciled and “who art in heaven”  refers not to a place but to God’s majesty and His presence in the hearts of  those made righteous in the blood of Christ. When the Church prays “our Father  who art in heaven” she is professing that we are the People of God, already  seated “with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus” and “hidden with Christ  in God; (Eph 2:6) yet at the same time, “here indeed we groan, and long to put  on our heavenly dwelling.

Sacred Scripture defines the concept of heaven:

  • Yahweh is His holy temple!   Yahweh, His throne is in heaven; His eyes watch over the world, His gaze  scrutinizes the children of Adam (Ps 11:4).
  • The heavens declare the glory of  God, the vault of heaven proclaims His handiwork… (Ps 19:1a-b).
  • …who would not find it an  impossible task to build a house for him, when the heavens and the heavens of  the heavens cannot contain Him? (2 Chr 2:6).
  • Thus says Yahweh: with heaven my  throne and earth my footstool, what house could you build me… (Is 66:1-2).
  • Then the sanctuary of God in  heaven opened, and the Ark of the Covenant could be seen inside it (Rev 11:19).

Question: Why  is that the earth is no longer home for Christians?
Answer: It is  because our Father’s home is in heaven that earth is not our home.  We are  in exile here waiting for the time when our Father will call us home.  And  like any good and loving Father, our heavenly Father understands our fears when  we are “away” from our home.

In the following verse our Father makes a promise that we can claim when  we, His children who are away from our heavenly home, become frightened and feel  alone.

Question: What are the promised contained in these verses when we acknowledge that our  Father rules over heaven and earth:  For I am certain of this: neither  death nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nothing already in existence and  nothing still to come, nor any power, nor the heights nor the depths, nor any  created thing whatever, will be able to come between us and the love of God,  known to us in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom 8:38).
Answer: Nothing can separate us from the love of God.  He is always with us and  will never leave us.

Question: What promise did Jesus also make to us after His resurrection in Matthew 28:20b?
Answer: And  behold, I AM with you always, until the end of the age.

Note: in Hebrew “I AM” is God’s Covenant name, YHWH (Yahweh).

Question:  God is both creator and father.  How should we respond to Him as both  Creator and Father in our lives?  What standard of behavior does God  require of His children?  See Exodus 20:11b; Ps 46:11(10) and Matthew  5:48:

  • Exodus 20:11b: …Yahweh made the  heavens, earth and sea and all that these contain…
  • Ps 46:10 Be still and  confess that I Am God.
  • Matthew 5:48 So be perfect, just  as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Answer: God  is not a permissive parent.  We must listen and respond to Him in obedience  and in love, acknowledging His sovereignty as Creator and His loving authority  as Father over us.  He is a good Father, but we must be good, obedient,  loving, children. We must honor “our Father” the commandments teach us.

Question:  Ps 46:11-12 is both a command and a promise.  What are the commands?  Be still and confess that I am God!  I am exalted among the nations,  exalted on the earth. The LORD of hosts is with us; our stronghold is the  God of Jacob.
Answer: The  first command is to “be still,” meaning to pay attention, to be obedient and  listen to the Father.  The second command is to confess belief in the One  True God who has authority over our lives.  The promise is when we are  attentive to His words and His commands that we will know we have an intimate  relationship with the eternal and supreme God who is always with us.

A Holy Father deserves holy children.  No matter how “mature” we grow as God’s children, we  are never too “mature” to accept parental correction from our heavenly Father or  from Mother Church.  We never “mature” to the point where we can make our  own rules and our own laws apart from the Law of God and His will for our lives.

Question:  But, how do you answer the question  Who is God “our Father”?
Answer: The  Most Holy Trinity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit; He who  is the One True and Holy God.b

St. Thomas Aquinas defined the Holy Trinity as the Lover (Father), the  One Loved (the Son), and the Love that binds them (the Holy Spirit).  St  John the Apostle also defined God, eloquently and simply in 1 John 4:16 God  is love.

Petition #1: “HOLY BE YOUR NAME”

You shall not misuse the  name of Yahweh your God, for Yahweh will not leave unpunished anyone who misuses  His name. Exodus 20:7 (Deuteronomy 5:11)

You will not swear by my  name with intent to deceive and thus profane the name of your God.  I am  Yahweh.  Leviticus 19:12

The Greek word for hallowed or holy is hagiastheto.  It is  the aorist passive imperative of hagiazo, the verb meaning “sanctify.”   So this prayer literally reads: Let Your name be sanctified.  It is  significant that this is the first petition of the Lord’s Prayer.  This  petition is the primary petition of all petitions.  We should first pray  that God’s holy name will be sanctified everywhere “on earth, in the heavens,  throughout creation in both time and space.  But we also need to make it  personal and relevant.  Our cry should be: “Let Your name be sanctified in mylife today!”

The Greek word onoma corresponds to the Hebrew word shem,meaning “name,” but not as we have mentioned previously, simply as the  identification of someone by a label to differentiate one person from another.   Instead biblically, and in other cultures in ancient times, the “name” of a  person encompassed everything that the named individual represented “his entire  character and personality, including his work, power, authority and reputation.  This petition for sanctification of God’s “holy name” can be expressed in two  ways:

  1. We sanctify His holy name by His  command to us to live holy lives, through obedience to His will (Lev 11:44-45; Mt 5:48), and by our reverence and praise offered to God.  If our lives are  not holy, we desecrate that sacred family name by which we are called.  We  remind ourselves that we are called by our Father’s most holy name every time we  make the sign of the cross: In the Name of God the Father, the Son, and the  Holy Spirit.  His Name is our name because He is our Father.
  2. But also included is this petition  is that God make holy His own name by manifesting His power and glory in our  lives and in the lives of all members of the family of man by establishing the  fullness of His Kingdom.
  3. It may help to understand the dimensions of God’s holiness by looking at  some of the names/titles of God used in the Bible.  You might also consult  the article The Many Names of God in the Resource section of Agape Bible  Study.(5)
  4. For ancient peoples one’s “name” encompassed everything there was to  know about a person: what that person stood for and what that person believed.   Jesus’ name in Hebrew, Yahshua (ancient Hebrew) or Yehoshua (in Jesus’ time)  means “Yahweh saves” or “Yahweh is salvation.”

Question:   What is the promise of Jesus’ “name” in Acts 4:12?  Also see CCC 432.
Answer: The  “name” of Jesus signifies the very “name” of God who is united with and present  in the person of the Son.  Belief in Jesus Christ is the only path  to salvation: Only in Him is there salvation; for of all the names in the  world given to men, this is the only one by which we can be saved.

Question:  What is the promise in Romans 10:12-13?  What does “calling on the name”  mean in this passage?
Answer: The  same Lord is the Lord of all, and His generosity is offered to all who  appeal to Him, for all who call on the name of the Lord will be saved.   “Calling on the name” means all those who claim Jesus’ promise of salvation by  accepting everything Jesus taught and believe in everything that He did for  man’s salvation will be saved.

It is not enough to simply acknowledge that there is a God or that there  was a man or man-God named Jesus.  Even Satan acknowledges that there is a  Jesus who is the Son of God.  His demons even addressed Jesus as the “Holy  one of God” during His earthly ministry (Lk 4:34).

St. James writes critically of those who think simple “belief” is enough  without faith evidenced by acts of mercy.  Please read James 2:18-24.

Question: What does St. James say is the value of faith without works?
Answer:   Writing forcefully and plainly, James assures us that genuine faith is living,  active faith.  He writes: You believe that God is one?  You do  well, even the demons believe that and tremble.  Do you want proof, you  ignoramus, that faith without works is useless? (Jam 2:19-20), and in 2:24  St. James concludes: See how a person is justified by works and not by faith  alone.

Note: this is the only verse in the New Testament which includes the  phrase “faith alone.”  Martin Luther, in attempting to promote his doctrine  of “faith alone” without works changed the Bible text and added the word “alone”  to Romans 3:28.   “Saving faith” then requires believing in everything  associated with God’s Holy Name, including the “name” of God the Son “what Jesus  taught us in His ministry, believing in His sacrificial death, in His  Resurrection, in His Ascension and in the body of revelation He has revealed to  us through the teachings of Mother Church.  Simply acknowledgement is not  enough.

Questions for group discussion:

Question: Does showing mercy include the giving of  alms?  See Sir 3:29; Tobit 12:9; Mt 6:1-4; Lk 12:33.
Answer: It has always been a teaching of God’s  covenant people that to give alms to the needy greatly pleases God.  Sirach 3:29 includes the promise Water quenches a flaming fire, and alms atone for  sins. Mercy as an act of atonement endears that sinner to God and atones for sin.

Did you know that the Church instructs those who do not  abstain from meat on Fridays to do an act of charity in place of a meat  sacrifice?  See CCC# 1434; 1438; 1969; 2101; 2447; 2462.

Jesus told a parable which illustrates the importance of the  giving of alms to the disadvantaged in the parable of “Lazarus and the Rich Man”  in Luke 16:19-31.

Question: Was the rich man’s disregard for the  conditions of the poor and his failure to give alms to the poor man named  Lazarus a sin?
Answer: To accept God’s blessing of prosperity and to  not use that gift to help the less fortunate is indeed a sin.  The rich man  was selfish and hardhearted.  He did not have a heart of generosity and  compassion “he failed show mercy.  He had not meant the obligations of the  covenant that required him to care for the disadvantaged.

Question: What was ironic about the state of these two  men in Sheol?  How did God give justice to Lazarus and does this justice  remind you of Jesus’ curses of the wealthy in the Sermon on the Plain in Luke  chapter 6?
Answer: It is ironic that in Sheol, or Abraham’s Bosom  as the grave was called in the 1st century AD, the roles of Lazarus  and the rich man were reversed just as Jesus had warned would be the case in the  Sermon on the Plain.

Question: What are some of the different kinds of prayer?

Question: Does God always answer our prayers?
Answer: He  always answers but the answer may not be what we were looking for.   Sometimes the answer is “yes,” sometimes the answer is “be patient,” sometimes  the answer is “no,” and at other times the answer is not for what we asked but  for what our Father knows we need.


1.  The people of Asia Minor and the Levant admired and in many cases  embraced Greek/Hellenistic culture.  The ruins of many Greek style theaters  have been found in the Roman provinces of Asia Minor, Syria, the Galilee,  Samaria, and in Judea.  For example, the cities of Sepphoris  (administrative capital of the Galilee), Tiberias (on the west side of the Sea  of Galilee), and Caesarea (on the coast of the Mediterranean and the residence  of the Roman governor) had large 1st century AD theaters where Greek  dramas were performed.  The theater at the Galilean regional capital of  Sepphoris seated 3,000 citizens and was built during the time Jesus was growing  up in neighboring Nazareth.  St. Joseph and his son, trained in the skills  of the tekton(a worker in hard materials), may have been conscripted to work on Sepphoris’  theater.

2.  Every Jew was an Israelite but not every Israelite was a  Jew.  An “Israelite” was one who was a member of one of the twelve tribes  of Israel, but to be a “Jew” originally meant one who was a member of the tribe  of Judah (Judah was the fourth son of Israel).  Later, the designation  “Jew” came to mean one who was a citizen of the Southern Kingdom of Judah  (composed of the two tribes of Judah and Benjamin) as opposed to the Israelites  of the Northern Kingdom of Israel (composed of the other ten tribes).  St.  Paul, who was a member of the tribe of Benjamin, identified himself as a “Jew.”   However, many of the residents of the Galilee were probably Israelites who had  returned to the land of their ancestors after the Assyrian and Babylonian  exiles.  Jesus’ disciples were both Jews and Israelites.  Jesus  identified Nathan, a man from the Galilee, as an “Israelite” and not a “Jew” (Jn 1:47).  In the modern state of Israel, there is no such differentiation;  every Israeli is a Jew.

3.  Originally there were only two “hours” of prayer observed  by righteous Israelites and Jews.  Today Rabbinic Judaism observes three  different periods of prayer:

  • “Shacharit” Morning Prayer is the first “hour” of prayer
  • “Minchah” (gift-offering) is the second “hour” of prayer
  • “Ma’ariv” or Evening Prayer begins at sundown

(for the hours of prayer in the  Jewish Talmud see Mishnah: Berakhot).

Morning and afternoon prayer correspond to the hours of the  Tamid morning and evening/afternoon sacrifices (Schurer, A History of the  Jewish People in the Time of Jesus, II, vol. 1, pages 290-291, n. 248). Ma’ariv or Evening Prayer was not observed during the Temple period butis a later addition after the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD.  The  Jewish Talmud records the late addition of the Ma’ariv service, which is not  connected with the sacrificial system (Jewish Book of Why, volume I, page  148; for the times of prayer see A History of the Jewish People, pages  190-91, note 248).

4.  God told David He would be a “father” to David’s son  Solomon (2 Sam 7:14), and in David’s Messianic Ps 89 there is a reference to  God’s “chosen David, my servant” (verse 21) who shall cry “You are my father, my  God, the Rock that Brings me victory!” (verse 27), but these verses do not refer  to David but to David’s descendant who is Jesus, the promised Messiah, “the  firstborn, Most High over the kings of the earth” (verse 28).

5.  The Hebrew text of the  Bible, there are many different names or titles by which the One True God is  called.  The most frequently used names are YHWH (the Tetragrammaton, a  term meaning “four letter name”), usually rendered as Yahweh (c. 6,800 times);  Elohim, the plural of the word “god” (c. 2,600 times); Adonai, “Lord” (c. 439  times); and El, “god” singular (c. 238 times).  Most of the other names are  combinations of these names like El Shaddai, El Eloah, and Yahweh Elohim.   The most commonly used names for God in the modern Jewish and Protestant Bibles,  which are used as substitutes for the divine name YHWH, are Ha-Shem (meaning  “the name”) and used in the modern Jewish Massoretic Text translations of the  Bible called the Tanakh, and Jehovah (used in both Protestant and Jewish  translations), a name for God that only dates back to the Middle Ages.  The  names Ha-Shem and Jehovah are invented named that are not found in  the ancient Hebrew or Greek texts of Sacred Scripture.  The use of  “Jehovah” arose from the addition of the vowels from the Hebrew word Adonai, meaning “Lord,” that were  added to the Tetragrammaton YHWH in Germany in  the Middle Ages by Jewish scholars (J is the German Y) to avoid impiously  speaking the divine Name when reading Scripture aloud.  “Jehovah” was never  meant to be a spoken name but only to indicate that in the biblical text this  word was in actuality the holy four consonants which were God’s holy Covenant  name, YHWH.  The Protestants, however mistakenly adopted this false reading  as God’s Covenant name into their Bible translations.  Hebrew was  originally written only in consonants.

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