Wednesday, June 3, 2015

We Dare To Call God, Father

As Christians, we make a very bold claim. We claim that God is our Father. We claim that the One who created the universe with all its billions of people knows each of us individually and loves us personally. We claim that He formed each of us in our mother’s womb with the care of a sculptor molding clay. There is not one second of our lives that we go unnoticed by Him. Despite all the world’s problems, He has nothing better to do than care for us.  We do not claim that He is like a father, but that He really is our Father in a way that our human fathers can never be. Therefore, we can bring our cares and concerns to Him. We can count on Him to help us through any difficulty. We can be assured that we are never alone. God, our Heavenly Father, is always by our side sustaining us with an unconditional love.

We make another bold claim - that this love of God became visible in the person of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. This Jesus who lived in history was no mere teacher or prophet. Rather, He is the eternal Son of God come down to earth, taking on our human nature, to reveal the love of God. In Jesus, we are able to see and touch God. In his encyclical, God is Love, Pope Benedict writes: “No one has ever seen God as he is. And yet God is not totally invisible to us; he does not remain completely inaccessible.... In Jesus we are able to see the Father.” The love of God, therefore, is no mere feeling or lofty ideal. It is a person, the person of Jesus Christ, who shows the Father’s love by offering His life on the cross for us and by rising from the dead to give us the hope of everlasting life.

If all that were not enough, as Christians we claim another great dignity - that the Father and the Son are alive and active in us and among us through the person of the Holy Spirit. Like the Father and the Son, the Holy Spirit is the one eternal God. At the beginning of creation, He was breathed into Adam to give him life. He was present throughout the Old Testament through the prophets of Israel. He was at work in the life of Jesus and raised Him from the dead. Then He was poured out upon the apostles at Pentecost to continue the saving work of Jesus in the world through the centuries. That Holy Spirit now lives within all the baptized, reminding us of our dignity as daughters and sons of God, inspiring us to do good works and strengthening us to live and witness to our faith. The Holy Spirit is the presence and love of God made visible in us through baptism.

The mystery of the Most Holy Trinity comes down to this - God is a family. He is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It is the nature of God that He is love and that His love becomes real in the persons of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Because His love is so great and overflowing, God invites us to become a part of that family. Just as Maureen was saved from a life of poverty and abuse in Vietnam by being adopted into a loving family, so we are rescued from a life of sin and death through adoption into God’s family. And we enter into this family through baptism in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

We are sons and daughters of God called to an intimate and personal relationship with the Father, in the Son and through the Holy Spirit. It is so beyond our ability to comprehend that the only appropriate response is awe and gratitude for such a tremendous gift.

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