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Easter 3rd S,May8,11

Easter 3rd S,May8,11

Easter 3rd S,May8,11

(Jn. 14:7-14)

Tony Hendra, a British born, Cambridge educated American writer and TV producer who had a very riotous life as a young man wrote a book called Fr.Joe Joe who saved my life.” In this book, he details his contacts with Fr. Joe and how the priest saved his life. He was introduced to this Benedictine priest called Father Joe while he was in England. Through the ups and downs of his life he kept in touch with Fr. Joe. When he realized that he was a total failure as a family man as well as a writer, he asked Joe permission to join the monastery to lead a life dedicated to the ideals of monasticism. Fr. Joe told him to go back to his family and be a good husband a good father.

To be a father involves a lot of qualities and qualifications. It exemplifies all that is beautiful, noble, sacrificial, dependable, and reverential in life. For a child, the Father is everything that is ideal and noble in life.

Once a young mother, speaking at a public function honoring her father’s 6oth birth day, remarked that it was through the love shown to her by her father that she came to a greater understanding of the love of God the Father.

Very rarely are such statements heard now from the children about their parents. The exemplary lives of the parents do elicit powerful reflections on the goodness, generosity and mercy of God the Father.

In today’s Gospel, in response to Philip’s question, Jesus tells him that those who have seen Him have seen God the Father.

Many of us in our reflective moments have wondered about the life in heaven and how the Father in heaven would treat us. But in today’s Gospel, we have a very candid statement from Jesus on how the Father would appear to each one of us. Jesus asked them to look at His life in order to know more about God the Father,

How was Jesus to them in his works and teachings? He was all mercy and kindness. He was available to everyone who approached him asking for healing. He gave life back to the dead. He comforted the suffering. He presented the image of a loving Father in heaven using the parable of the prodigal son. He forgave the sins of the woman caught in adultery and reinstated in society those who were ostracized like the tax collectors and lepers. In hundreds and thousands of ways he showed the different aspects of a loving and merciful Father in his interactions with the people. He tells Philip that one who has seen him has seen the Father.

Jesus also points out that anything that is asked in His name will be granted. Philip’s question is an occasion for Jesus to reveal who He is, His identity with the Father in heaven and His boundless mercy and compassion. Thus, in today’s Gospel, we find someone who will always be a Father to us. We don’t have to go anywhere looking for comfort and support, healing and renewal, mercy and love except in Jesus Christ, our Savior.

In our society, as so many concerted attacks are being orchestrated against the unity and cohesion of the family, it is appropriate to reflect on the responsibilities and tasks of parents. Tim Russert, the late NBC TV commentator has written a book, “The Big Russ and Me” on his father who did two jobs to put him through private schools and college. He waxes eloquent describing the strong influence his father has had on his life. The motto of the book is that “children stand on the shoulders of their parents”, meaning that all the accomplishments of the children are due to the love, hard work and exemplary Christian faith of their parents.

Today as we reflect on the Fatherhood of God, it is very proper to ask each one of us how we are fulfilling the duties entrusted to us in our roles as leaders, parents and teachers. Can the people who are entrusted to us say that it is because of us as parents, teachers or leaders that they have been blessed with such a good Christian life? Can we offer ourselves as models of good Christian life to those who are entrusted to our care?

It is sad to say that we don’t have many in our midst who exemplify through their lives the qualities of a true Father, one who will never forsake us, who will come to our help in the dire moments of helplessness, and who will comfort us in the heart-broken moments of great tragic experiences.

May the words of Jesus that we heard in today’s Gospel help us to experience more warmly the love of our heavenly Father and make us committed to a way of life that offers love, forgiveness and compassion.

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