So Far, and Yet So Near

Certain husbands are quite comfortable calling their fathers-in-law “Dad.” Other husbands, however, find that to be awkward or inappropriate. The prospect makes them uneasy.

Sometimes we can be uneasy about calling God our “Father,” or even “Dad,” as Jesus always did. In fact, this so outraged our Lord’s critics in today’s gospel that they wanted to kill him! Calling God our “Father” hopefully doesn’t infuriate us like that, but it sure can make us feel uncomfortable.

We can be fine praying to “Almighty God,” as that title reflects God’s distance from us. But “Father” speaks of God’s nearness; it implies love, family, and intimacy. And that can scare us, because we worry about getting too close to God. After all, who knows what that might lead to? We wonder: “What will God ask of me? What demands could he make? How might my life have to change?” It can seem easier, and a whole lot safer, to keep God at arm’s length.

Jesus challenges us to move beyond our fears. As our brother, he wants us to know the Father, not only as one who dwells above us, but also as one who abides within us. The same life and love the Father gives to Jesus, is also offered to us. Our Father doesn’t want to be kept at arm’s length. Instead, he wants to hold us in his arms.

Readings for today’s Mass:

Photo credit: Mike Babcock via Creative Commons