The Work of the Son
An unknown author had this beautiful reflection on what God is doing to us entitled, That’s God. Here is some of what he says: “Have you ever been just sitting there and all of a sudden you feel like doing something nice for someone you care for? That’s God! He talks to you through the Holy Spirit. Have you ever been down and out and nobody seems to be around for you to talk to? That’s God! He wants you to talk to Him. Have you ever received something wonderful that you didn’t even ask for? That’s God! He knows the desires of your heart.”
Today’s gospel reading presents God essentially as a Father. Eight times in these fourteen verses that Jesus calls God, “Father.” And at one point He makes this astounding statement, which should forever revolutionize our image of God: “Nor does the Father judge anyone, but He has given all judgment to His Son.” “The Father judges no one,” and that’s God. Our judge will be Jesus and He gave His life for us. How could we continue to live in fear?
Someone said that fathers are fading out of the world today. Many of them are becoming invisible in their families. They leave home for work before the children are awake. They return home but their children have gone back to bed. Unless fathers make a special effort they may seldom even see their children. There are even cartoons that habitually show fathers as rather stupid, absurd and inept figures.
One of the main reasons why we have negative images about God is our tendency to identify Him with the people we look up to, like fathers, as having the unloving characteristics. We tend to believe that God is going to treat us as our fathers do. Yet, intensive clinical studies on the development of peoples’ images of God show that it is not so simple. Somebody said that one psychologist found that this spiritual development of the God image is more of an emotional process than an intellectual one. This is because our negative images of God are often rooted in our emotional hurts and destructive patterns of relating to people that we carry with us from our past. Imagine a seven-year-old little girl who has known only rejection and abuse from her father whom she loves dearly. And then at a Catechism class she is taught that God is her Heavenly Father. What is her perception of Him going to be? Based on her experience with her natural father, she will see God as an unstable, rejecting, abusing person that she cannot trust. Consider just a few ways in which our image of our father possibly may have affected our perception of God which in turn affects our self-image. If this is the case, then what parents nowadays, especially fathers, need are helps, support and not ridicule and blame.
At the end let us reflect this message especially for fathers coming from an unknown author entitled, Teach by Examples. He says:
He teaches kindness by being thoughtful and gracious even at home.
He teaches patience by being gentle and understanding over and over.
He teaches honesty by keeping his promises to his family even when it costs.
He teaches courage by living unafraid with faith in all circumstances.
He teaches justice by being fair and dealing equally with everyone.
He teaches obedience to God’s Word by precept and example as he reads and prays daily with his family.
He teaches love for God and His Church as he takes his family regularly to all the Liturgical Services.
His steps are important because others follow.