Apr 20, 2016

Like Father, like Son

We priests are "fathers" of a different sort.  We do not beget biological children but we have thousands spiritual children indeed.  There is a reason we are referred to as "Father" and it has to do with our relationship to the good people of God.  We are called to be pastors or fathers in our own right; caring for the family with love and personal sacrifice.  Similar to parents but not so much in an individual way but rather in a corporate sense.  Nonetheless, we are "fathers."

Any parents hope and pray that their good influence will have a positive direction for their sons and daughters.  In a sense, they hope that they will be like them, have the best attributes and make reasonable choices.  While every child is an individual, I think fathers in particular hope their sons to some degree will walk in their footsteps and in some cases enter a similar profession.  But, in the end, we are who we are as created by God and the most any good parent can wish is that their children will turn out well and learn the best from them.

In our Gospel this Wednesday from Jn 12: 44-50 we hear Jesus proclaim: "I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and speak.  And I know that his commandment is eternal life. So what I say, I say as the Father told me.”  The work of Jesus, his actions and words, are those directed by his Father in heaven.  In the power of the Spirit he comes among us, sent by God himself, as God's own Son, to carry out the will of his Father for all humanity.  

This is great mystery for God is first and foremost mystery itself.  But, Jesus gave us words and images to uncover at least a portion of that great mystery.  That when he speaks, God speaks.  And because that is true, we can believe and follow in what he says.  He is not some delusional prophet who thinks he is God.  Jesus is not a liar; pretending to be God deceiving humanity to gain some sort of distorted fame.  He is God himself come among us and as he operates so does the entire Trinity - one God in a trinity of persons.  

While that all may seem theological technicalities how can I apply such mystery to my everyday life?  As Christ Jesus is one with God so must I be one with him.  I do not loose my individuality or my particular character but I rest in the will and Gospel of Christ and allow myself to be formed and shaped.  

How do I give "glory" to God for example?  I'm a weak sinner, often deciding to go my own way.  In the same way any child can honor their parents - by learning good from them; by honoring their name and reputation; by imitating the best they have seen and heard. I can do so as a faithful follower of Jesus in the same way.  I can live a life that reflects Christ himself.  And as I do so, I give glory to God by imitating his own Son.  It is both simple and deeply challenging.  

Jesus' own words in the Gospel: "Whoever believes in me believes not only in me but also in the one who sent me, and whoever sees me sees the one who sent me." If we hear Jesus, follow his teaching and walk in his ways, we are spiritual children of our Father.  Made so through baptism and the integrity of our lives.  

So, the call is for us.  Fear not for God is with us.  He knows our profound limitations and our own weakness but he calls us always to take the "high ground."  

Jn 12: 44-50

Jesus cried out and said,
“Whoever believes in me believes not only in me
but also in the one who sent me,
and whoever sees me sees the one who sent me.
I came into the world as light,
so that everyone who believes in me might not remain in darkness. 
And if anyone hears my words and does not observe them,
I do not condemn him,
for I did not come to condemn the world but to save the world. 
Whoever rejects me and does not accept my words
has something to judge him: the word that I spoke,
it will condemn him on the last day,
because I did not speak on my own,
but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and speak. 
And I know that his commandment is eternal life. 
So what I say, I say as the Father told me.”