|Pater Noster – A Father’s Day Reflection
Overheard during a violent thunderstorm: "Mommy, will you sleep with me tonight?" "I can’t dear. I have to sleep in daddy’s room." Then a shaky little voice, "The big sissy."
Still at the comic level – three things you will never hear your dad say: 1.Well, how ‘bout that? I’m lost! Looks like we’ll have to stop and ask for directions. 2.I noticed that all your friends have a certain hostile attitude. I like that. 3.Your mother and I are going away for the weekend. You might want to consider throwing a party.
There is much humor about fatherhood. There is a great joy in actually being a father. But there is more joy in our Father’s heaven! Our God is a happy God. He made the earth and he made us, and he saw that it was indeed very GOOD. Let’s revel in that for a moment. There is much cause for joy.
I am a father of a family on earth. Nothing gives me greater joy than having my family in the loving arms of Our Father. My fondest wish for Father’s Day is that my family could be with me in Church on Sunday Morning.
There is another Father who loves us all and wants us back when we have become alienated from him. There is a Hindu saying: "If you take two steps toward God he will run toward you." Scripture bears this out in Christ’s parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15) – when the father saw him returning, he ran out to meet him. While it is still easy to return, let us take the two steps.
The "Pater Noster" or Our Father was given to us by Jesus to encourage us to praise the Father, ask forgiveness and work for his Kingdom by loving others. No other prayer is as universally recognized and loved by all Christians as the Lord’s Prayer. It fills me with great hope because it is a sign of the unity of all Christians who together make up Christ’s body on earth. We are one big family. Let’s revel in that thought!
But the greatest hope for the family of mankind comes to us through Hosea 2 where Our Father, who loves us even when we stray says: "Come back to me…" When Israel (and that includes us) "forgot" the Lord, he pursued her: "I will allure her…She shall respond there as in the days of her youth…I will espouse you to me forever…in love and in mercy."
God will pursue us. He will take us back, espouse us, as a lover (God) whose partner (we) has been unfaithful but is seduced by love to return to the marriage union.
I know what a joy it is to have children who grow and develop within a family bond whose love is strong enough to bring them back when they stray. As a father I could witness the mistakes of their youth and welcome their recognition of those errors. But above all I always recognized that though they were flesh of my flesh, yet they were a sublime gift from God.
But God our father is perfect in love! Through Jesus he revealed to us that his heart is that of a shepherd tenderly caring for his sheep (Matthew 18) and he is also a passionate lover leaping over mountains and hills, rushing to embrace his beloved (Song of Songs 2:8-14). Rejoice and believe the Good News!