Who do you call father?
For many people it is not that easy of a question. Simply donating part of himself in order for you to be created does not necessarily earn a man the title father other than on some governmental and ecclesial forms. The coach that treats you well and teaches you how to be a man or woman might earn the title over the guy who gave five minutes of his time to see that you were conceived and then never had much of a positive role in your life again.
Calling someone your father or “father figure” implies a good and healthy relationship. It means that there is a certain amount of trust and security between the two in order for one to call the other father. It means that the title has been earned.
In today’s Gospel we are given permission to call God, “Our Father.” We are called His children, brothers and sisters in Christ. The ramifications are mind blowing. In all of mythology, what other god asked to be called father? In fact, most Muslims would find referring to God as Our Father as bordering if not downright blasphemy. Yet we are instructed to do this by Jesus.
Jesus’ entire mission was to restore the rifts between each of us and between us and our Heavenly Father. Original sin began the rift and His mission was to restore the relationship. At the Mass, the highpoint of this unity with God is when we are present for the offering of Christ when the priest intones, “Through Him, with Him, in Him . . . all glory and honor is Yours Almighty Father for ever and ever” and the congregations cries out, “Amen! Amen! Amen!” At this point, assuming that we are in a state of grace, we are as closely untied to Our Father as we can be in this life. And what are the first words out of our mouth after this moment? We dare to say, “Our Father, Who are in heaven, hollowed be Thy Name . . .”
This Sunday is Father’s Day. When you pray that prayer this Sunday at Mass realize the full import of that moment and that word and say it with awe, reverence, humility, gratitude, and love.