Reshaping Fatherhood

THE NOW WORD ON MASS READINGS
for Thursday of the Fourth Week of Lent, March 19th, 2015
Solemnity of St. Joseph

Liturgical texts here

 

FATHERHOOD is one of the most amazing gifts from God. And it’s time we men truly reclaim it for what it is: an opportunity to reflect the very face of the Heavenly Father.

Fatherhood has been framed by feminists as an abuse, by Hollywood as a burden, by macho-men as a kill-joy. But there is nothing more life-giving, more fulfilling, more honorable than to generate new life with one’s wife… and then have the opportunity and privileged obligation to nourish, defend, and shape that new life into another image of God.

Fatherhood sets a man as a priest over his own home, [1]cf. Eph 5:23 which means to become a servant to his wife and children, to lay his very life down for them. And in this way, he shows them the face of Christ, who is the reflection of the Heavenly Father.

Oh, what an impact a daddy can have! What a gift a holy man can be! In today’s Mass readings, the Scriptures highlight three holy fathers: Abraham, David, and St. Joseph. And each of them reveals an interior disposition necessary for every man to show the face of Christ to his family and the world.

 

Abraham: father of faith

He never let anything, not even the love of his family, come between him and God. Abraham lived the Gospel phrase, “Seek first the Kingdom of God…” [2]Matt 6:33

What children need to see today is a dad who puts God above career, above sailboats, above money, above everything and everyone—which is, in fact, putting his family’s and neighbour’s best interests at heart. 

The dad who prays and obeys is a living icon of faith. When children contemplate this icon in their dad, they see the face of the obedient Christ, who is a reflection of the Father in Heaven.

 

David: father of humility

He was handsome, successful, and rich… but David also knew he was a great sinner. His humility was expressed in Psalms of tears, a man who faced himself for who he truly was. He lived the Gospel phrase, “Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” [3]Matt 23:12

What children need to see today is not Superman, but a real man… a man who is transparent, human, and in need of a Savior too; a man who is not afraid to admit his wife is right, to apologize to his children when he has failed, and to be seen standing in the confessional line. 

The dad who says, “I’m sorry” is a living icon of humility. When children contemplate this icon in their dad, they see the face of the meek and humble Christ, who is a reflection of the Father in Heaven.

 

Joseph: father of integrity

He honored Mary, and he honored his angelic visitors. Joseph was ready to do anything to protect those he loved, honor his own name, and honor the name of God. He lived the Gospel phrase, “The person who is trustworthy in very small matters is also trustworthy in great ones.” [4]Luke 16:10

What children need to see today is not a wealthy businessman, but an honest one; not a successful man, but a faithful one; not a lazy man, but a hard worker who does not compromise, even if it costs him.

The dad who is trustworthy is a living icon of integrity. When children contemplate this icon in their dad, they see the face of He-who-is-truth, who is a reflection of the Father in Heaven.

Dear fathers, my dear brothers in Christ, by being a man of faith, Abraham became the father of many; by being a man of humility, David established an everlasting throne; by being a man of integrity, Joseph became the Protector and Defender of the entire Church.

What will God make of you, then, if you are a man of all three?

 

[The man of God] shall say of Me, ‘You are my father, my God, the Rock, my savior.’ (Today’s Psalm)

 

RELATED READING

A Priest in My Own Home – Part I

A Priest in My Own Home – Part II

The Coming Restoration of the Family

 

 A song I wrote about the powerful bond
of a father and daughter… even through eternity.

 

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1. cf. Eph 5:23
2. Matt 6:33
3. Matt 23:12
4. Luke 16:10
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