Dear sisters and brothers,
On Father’s Day we celebrate the importance of family. We also celebrated the importance of family last week, with our very successful Parish Family Fun Day. The feedback has been extremely positive, and I was delighted by the response and infectious enthusiasm of our children. I hope that it might be something that we could do annually in some form. Thank you again to our ministers, organisers, workers and everyone who came along to celebrate Eucharist and then gather for all the food and fun afterwards. It was a splendid day.
Fathers and father-figures play a vital role in the shaping of families and offer a strong paternal image of love and commitment. The image of God as “Father” is not intended to limit our understanding of God as a “male”. The Catechism of the Catholic Church is quite clear on this point: “In no way is God in man’s image. He is neither man nor woman. God is pure spirit in which there is no place for the difference between the sexes. But the respective ‘perfections’ of man and woman reflect something of the infinite perfection of God: those of a mother and those of a father and husband” (370). During the short reign of Pope John Paul I, he once said, “We are the objects of undying love. God is our father. Even more God is our mother”. When we call God “Our Father”, we are not saying that God is man – let alone an old man with a beard. When Jesus taught his disciples to pray, he begins with the word “Father” but this is more a description of the kind of relationship experienced when he prayed. The Greek word in the text is “pateras” (father) but in all likelihood Jesus used the Aramaic word, “Abba” which is best translated as ‘Dad’. Jesus’ use of this highly familiar title for God made such an impression on the early believers that they continued to use the Aramaic word “Abba”. Following the death and resurrection of Jesus, and the Day of Pentecost, they found themselves ‘daring’ to call God “Abba – Father – Dad”. This is an extraordinary way to address the God of all the universe — “Dad”. Our relationship with God invites us to imagine the “perfect father”. Even if our fathers aren’t or weren’t perfect – and they rarely are – we give thanks. If our relationship with our father needs some healing, may today be a step in the right direction. If we rejoice in our relationship with our father, may today be opportunity to express our gratitude and love. Happy Father’s Day to all our fathers and father-figures!
|Sep 28, 2016
|23 Sunday in Ordinary Time 04.09.2016