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August 6, 2017

FROM THE DESK OF DEACON GERALD BRENNAN

Traditionally, we especially honor God the Father on the first Sunday of August. Sometimes I think we parents have a particular burden because our children, the next generation, in some way shape or form sees the Father through our parenting skills and weaknesses.

In past homilies, I have mentioned the distorted view of fatherhood that one could see with the young men at Maxey Boys Training School or working with recovering addicts; sometimes their view of their father provides an image of a harsh, unforgiving parent and we end up assuming that the Father, the Father we all share, is distant and cruel.

This concern can be compounded if we have a childish perspective of God the Father; if we see Him as some sort of “sugar daddy” who gives us whatever we ask for rather than what we need or what is good for us.

Jesus comes in large part to model what the appropriate relationship should be between a loving child and a loving Father. He does this in many ways. First, He establishes that He is the Messiah, the Christ, the Second Person of the Trinity. Without establishing this foundation, if He were just a good preacher to some extent, we could take or leave His message. When Jesus says “I AM”, the name that God gives as His own when speaking with Moses, Jesus leaves us only two choices – He is either crazy or He is God. As Paul says, the Resurrection is proof that Jesus is who He says He is. It is proof that He is the Christ. If we try to look at the Father as Jesus teaches us, maybe our view will not be as distorted by imperfect parents.

Jesus teaches us that the Father is a God of mercy. He heals, He calls the blind, the lame, the deaf. He expels demons. He eats with tax collectors and prostitutes. He heals on the Sabbath because the Sabbath is made for man not man for the Sabbath. He is obedient unto death. He is one with the Father.

Some say that the God of the New Testament is different than the God of the Old Testament; more forgiving and loving. It would be more accurate to say that we get a different understanding of the Father’s mercy in the New Testament. Reread the Old Testament in light of the New, the Covenantal Love of the Father for us, the Father who is always true to His promise and to His truth no matter how many times we turn away from Him and fall. We see someone who is not harsh, but is merciful.

If we look at the many parables in the Gospels this summer, we also see a God who wants a relationship with mature children. There will be a judgement, the weeds will be separated from the wheat, those who do not provide a rich home for the Word will wither, the bad fish will not be kept at the harvest.

The Father loves us, He really does. No matter how many times we make mistakes, He will accept us back. This love, the Kingdom, is the pearl of great price.  We should sell all that we have for this relationship.

We should strip away our own pride and anger to provide the same relationship with family members who are estranged. Remember as Jesus told us at the Last Supper, I have given you a model to follow.

~Dcn. Jerry

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